As I’ve reflected over this time of COVID-19, this story came to my mind, and I wanted to share it with you all, in hopes that it will encourage you, the way it has for me.
I’ve wanted to write this story out for a while now, but the timing just never felt quite right to share it and I couldn’t find the words to express it correctly. But now I can and now, and there couldn’t be a better time. Because this is a story about hope.
Back in late August, early September of 2019, Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Bahamas as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane. It was absolutely crazy for me to think that just a few short weeks prior to this devastating storm, my feet had strolled along the very shores of those beautiful beaches.
The hurricane made me painfully aware of how very quickly things can change, and how things that once seemed permanent, like the house we stayed in, were in fact… not permanent at all. Sound familiar?
It is a lot like this season we’re all going through right now. Things that once seemed permanent; jobs, plans, gradations, weddings, and simply being able to go out to dinner, or to the grocery store… are suddenly, not permanent. Suddenly, and without much warning, a storm has come, and devastated our world.
It turns out that the things we can so often put our hope in, maybe without even realizing it, just aren’t strong enough to withstand certain storms. But there is one thing that is, Jesus.
A few years ago, I painted pictures for everyone in my family as a Christmas gift, something that reflected them or that I thought would be special to them. For Grandpy, I painted a picture of an anchor, since he loves to be out on the boat.
I had all but forgotten about that painting when we arrived at their house to stay on our visit to the Bahamas last August, but as I walked up the stairs…there it was, hanging on the wall in the staircase. I smiled and thought how nice it was that he had kept it and hung it up in the house, and then didn’t think of it again.
We had a wonderful trip, returned home, and two weeks later… disaster struck.
It was the most awful and uncertain days at home as we waited for the storm to pass. It seemed to last forever. Much like what we are feeling now.
Finally, when the winds had ceased, and the waves had calmed, and the flood waters had started to subside; Grandpy went to go check on the house where we had stayed only to find that it was completely gone. Our hearts were broken.
Grandpy spent the day rummaging around to see if he could find anything remaining. And from all the piles of debris and rubbish, he found three things. A small statue, a bean-bag chair, and my painting.
My painting, of an anchor.
Just hours before he called to tell us all this, I had posted a Bible verse to my Facebook which had been helping me in understanding and trusting God with everything that was happening.
“We have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” (Hebrews 6:19)
My mind was blown. Talk about hearing God speak.
This storm... this massive, unpredictable, devastating, and heartbreaking storm, had come out of nowhere and it had washed away the very house we stayed in, along with so many others. What was so comfortable and seemingly permanent just two weeks before…gone, in an instant. But out of ALL the things that remained… a small, canvas painting, of an anchor.
We are all in this strange and uncertain season together, and for many, it may feel like a hurricane has come and washed away everything that was good, and reliable, and comfortable- suddenly and without much warning. And when big storms come, it can seem like they take everything, leaving nothing but destruction in their path.
But what that hurricane didn’t take, and what COVID-19 can’t take, or anything else on this earth, is the HOPE we have in Christ Jesus.
When Grandpy told us that day that he had found my anchor painting, I heard God speak so loudly reminding me that nothing in this life is permanent and that anything we set our hope in that isn’t Him, will eventually fade. Money, status, image, likes, jobs, other people, even ourselves. All of it is temporary, all of it can change in an instant, all of it will let us down.
But Jesus never will and He never fades. He is our LIVING HOPE. (1 Peter 1:3)
God reminded me that day that my hope is in HIM. And that He is strong enough to withstand any storm! He reminded me that even if EVERYTHING else in my life fades, HE REMAINS THE SAME! He reminded me that when the storms of life come, my faith has to be so firmly anchored in Him, because He is my anchor. He is the sure and steadfast anchor of my soul. And of yours.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46: 1-3)"
I pray that whatever this season has brought to your life, that your heart will be reminded, as mine was tonight, that our Anchor is not flimsy or un-present in this storm. He is fiercely holding on to us, reminding us that His love will never fail, and that our hope is forever safe in His arms.