The fifth of five lessons on the theme “Anchors in the Storm”. In this lesson, we consider the renewal of our anchors when the storms have ceased for a time.
When the storm has passed, a ship does not discard its anchors. The anchors are inspected, reconditioned, and maintained ready for the next storm. Likewise, in the aftermath of tribulation, we do not cast away the anchors that kept our faith from being shipwrecked. Rather, we renew those anchors, and in renewal we are prepared for any storm to come.
Stormy times of trouble and testing may be long; but they do pass, followed by a season of rest and relief. In heaven there's an ultimate "sabbath rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). However, God may also grant peaceful seasons here on earth.
The 6th to 11th chapters of Revelation are about tribulations. Yet "there was silence in heaven for half an hour" (Revelation 8:1), representing a respite.
When we enjoy a time of peace and respite from suffering, we should "redeem the time" (Ephesians 5:16) —as did the first Christians after they were persecuted (Acts 9:31).
"So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase" (Acts 9:31, NASB).
Relief from one’s troubles is an opportunity to strengthen oneself, "building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keeping yourselves in the love of God; waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life" (Jude 1:20-21).
That exhortation applies in both storm and calm. We thank God for surviving the storm and for rest when it comes; but the point is not merely to rest, but to restore.
The season of peace is a time for reckoning and reflection, for assessing what parts of “the ship” held strong in the storm, and what parts were weakened.
The Bible says, "Test yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2Corinthians 13:5). When you have been through a storm of trial, you have the advantage of hindsight to help you recognize your strengths.
Through that reckoning, we better recognize our reliance on the anchors God provides, and to see where we should improve our reliance on those anchors for the future.
We cannot improve on the blessings God gives, such as absolute truth; grace in our weakness; the hope of our inheritance; and full assurance. But we can better adapt our lives to them, thus making them more effective anchors in future storms.
In the aftermath of any tribulation, we must not neglect our anchors. On the contrary, we must ensure that they are in pristine condition, with new ropes attached, ready to cast into the deep when the next storm looms.
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word" (2Thessalonians 2:16-17).
His ship withstands the gale;
His anchors do not fail.
When deadly seas we face,
Sure hope and truth and grace
Hold till the storms are gone.
Then Christ will say, “Sail on!”
Taught at Over 50's Retreat Kurrajong NSW, May 2013