It was in 1944 when Nazi Germany and the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan were engaged with the United States in the bloody global battles of WWII; a pastor’s wife, the mother of five, sensing the need of divine help in those troublous times, was inspired to write the words of this well-known hymn. The first lines go like this: “In times like these, you need a Savior / In times like these, you need an anchor.”
Once again we find ourselves in the midst of an unplanned conflict that is enveloping the world. It is one of the conditions indicative of the last times. See Matthew 24:4-12. To almost everyone, the coronavirus pandemic is creating great changes in our normal life, ranging from social distancing to sheer panic and death. What can be offered to the jobless, those whose lives have experienced major interruptions and to those most susceptible to exposure to the virus?
In the hymn written by the pastor’s wife in WWII, the words “In times like these” are very appropriate. We need both a “Savior” and an “anchor.”
There are several instances in the scriptures where people were in desperate situations and it seemed there was no hope. One of these was during the long days and nights of a raging storm where Paul was a prisoner on a ship on the Mediterranean Sea. It says in Acts 27:20: “We lost all hope of staying alive – we thought we would die.” Yet, an angel of Almighty God appeared to Paul giving assurance that, though the ship and cargo would be lost, no one on the ship would perish.
To those throughout the earth who are experiencing the huge effects of this present storm that threatens shipwreck and ruin, there are tremendous words given us through the God of hope. In the midst of the “bad news” there is “good news.” Hebrews 6:18, 19 tells us of a place of refuge, a place of protection to which we may flee and obtain the promises of an unchanging God in the midst of a changing world. Our Lord has encouraged us to lay hold of the steadfast hope He has wonderfully offered for now and in the days ahead.
This hope is like an anchor of the soul. The soul of man is often vulnerable to the storms that take place about us. The psalmist cried out: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” Psalms 42:11. Then, in answer to the question just asked, the psalmist replies: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
In biblical times ships were, among other things, used to transport cargo; sometimes very precious. Three things were essential for the safe passage of the ship from the time of its launch until it arrived at its destination. A sail, a rudder and an anchor.
The sail, catching the winds, would give the ship motion. The rudder would turn the ship, enabling it to stay on course. The anchor would keep the ship from drifting and sometimes in stormy conditions, would impede the ship from crashing against the rocky shore. See Acts 27:29.
Today we, like the ship, need to spread our sail to catch the winds of the Holy Spirit to give us impetus in the carrying out of God’s plan for our lives. We also need the guidance of God’s word to give the rudder of our life accurate direction and we need the stability of the anchor of hope to keep us strong and steadfast in troublous times.
Some are looking outward toward the crashing waves of the tempest. Others are basing their hope downward, in belief that the answer to their despair will be found in the muddy sea floor of this present world. However, our anchor will not be found by looking downward but rather heavenward. By faith we see the Lord Jesus, who is our hope and the anchor of our soul, in the Most Holy Place in heaven.
The lyrics of the hymn tell us: “In times like these we need an anchor”. The good news is: “Today and always we, whose faith is in Christ, have an anchor strong and sure.” A solid trust in Christ the Lord will make way for Him to guide our lives through these troubled waters. Then, as the message of that hymn continues, we hear: “Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.”
Bill Behrman was born and raised here in BV. He is 87 and lives on top of Trout Creek Pass.