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March 19 Devotional – Linda Totman

Do any of you know someone who likes to fish? A real fisherman? Both my dad and my husband had a tendency to be incurable optimists when it came to fishing. They would check the weather including the wind speed before determining if they were going to take the boat out the next morning. And upon their return, I would ask how the fishing went that day. “Better,” Don would say. “Last week we went out for four hours and didn’t catch a thing. Today, we got the same result in only three hours.”

Many confuse optimism and biblical hope. Biblical hope is based on certainty and truth, not upon a cheery disposition that looks on the bright side. To be valid, hope must be based on truth and certainty, not mere fantasy.

In Romans 15:13, we are reminded that God is the source of hope. And sense believers represent Him to this hopeless world, we must be people filled with hope. How can we be filled with hope? Because of the certainty of God’s promises.

Several months ago I was asked to share a devotion at the March 24, 2020, MOMs Group but little did I know that our community, country and world would be in the state that it is currently in. The theme, “Putting Your Anchor Down in Troubling Times” was to be based on Hebrews 6:19, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” The author of Hebrews was writing to people who were facing hardship and persecution because of their Christian faith. A few were tempted to abandon Christ and return to Judaism. Yet the author urges them to persevere by putting their focus on the superiority of Jesus Christ and that salvation that He has provided. He is trying to instill in them biblical hope – not just a positive, cheerful disposition – but a steady attitude of joy based on the promises of God, who cannot lie.

He uses a metaphor in verse 19 of chapter 6 that is used only here in the Bible, of an anchor. But instead of going down into the ocean, this anchor goes up into the heavens, behind the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us. Here he is saying, “The certain hope of our future salvation is an anchor to steady our souls while we wait on God in present storms.” The main reason a ship needs an anchor is to ride our storms so that it is not blown off course or into the rocks or reefs nearby. Even in a safe harbor, a ship needs an anchor so that it will not drift, hit something, and sink. Whether in the storms of life or in the harbor during the calm times of life, we all need an anchor for our souls so that we do not destroy our lives.

I’ve read of a Christian man who made a trip to Russia in 1993. He felt conspicuous walking down the streets of Moscow and could not figure why. He wanted to blend in, but it was obvious that people knew he was not Russian. He asked the group of Russian educators with whom he was working whether it was his American clothes; jeans and a Chicago Bulls shirt. “No, it’s not your clothes,” they replied. “What is it, then?” he asked. They huddled together and talked for several minutes. Then one, speaking for the group, answered politely, “It is your face.” “My face!” he laughed. “How does my face look different?” They talked again and then one of the teachers quietly said, “You have hope.”

As Christians living in a world that Paul describes as “having no hope and without God” (Eph. 2:12), we should stand out as people of hope. The certain hope of our future salvation is the anchor that God has given to us to steady our souls, even in times of storm. We don’t need an anchor for calm seas! The rougher the weather is, the more important your anchor is. – Linda Totman