We lost a good friend this week. One of the best, actually.

Head-on collision.  Six dead.

Just like that, the candle was snuffed out.

And the shock, it’s taking a long time to wear off, and I keep thinking, hoping, praying that it will all be just a terrible nightmare, and I will soon wake up to find out that thank God, it was just a bad dream.

But it wasn’t, and he’s gone.

And I cried out to the Lord to “Take it back! Just take it back! Press rewind, reverse time, and change it. Please.”

And even though my faith is weathered, in the face of the storm, I still ask, “Why?”  Why did it have to happen, when he wasn’t yet 39, his wife and two kids still at home?

And it doesn’t seem fair.

And I flail in the cold waters that threaten to overwhelm, and I reach and stretch to grab hold of something sturdy — something that is true.

And then I’m reminded that the anchor doesn’t live in this sea. This choppy, unreliable sea where storms rage and the unexpected tragedy rises with the swell of the waves. This turbulent sea where pain is the current, and sorrow pulls with the changing tide.

The anchor doesn’t live here.


Anchor Hope

This hope that we have as “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” — it’s bound to chains secured in heaven, never to be moved.

And sometimes we swim down, down into the depths searching for some source to give us strength to endure, strength that could be drudged up from the very bellows of the deep. But it’s not there, because it’s not here.

And our lungs, it feels like the air has expired, like time’s up, and we won’t make it back up to the surface in time. And the waves, they crash down with every phone call that brings the very news that no one should ever have to hear.

It can feel, at times, like we’re drowning.

Then we remember.

We remember to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

He sat down.

He is the anchor.

He shall not be moved.

And He throws the life ring down into the raging sea, and He pulls us up.

Our lungs still burn and our eyes still sting that salty sting from the tears that won’t stop, but we grab hold. We grab hold of that which first grabbed hold of us.

For our strength isn’t found in the muck of the seabed — our strength is in the joy of the Lord, the same joy that was set before Him as He endured the cross, and our hope is in the anchor of His name.

This post was written on the prompt, “The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength,” over at the (in)courage Community Groups page.

Photo Credit: Paul Wilkinson, Flickr Creative Commons