Priscilla Owens wrote the words to one of my favourite hymns in the late 1800‘s, and I often wondered what circumstances in her life inspired her to pen them. "Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, When the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift and the cables strain, Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?" It is one of my favourite songs because it as a challenging song, and yet, in the chorus, it is a song of hope and assurance.
There are so many things in our lives that we tend to take for granted. When we leave home in the morning we tend to take it for granted that we will return in the evening and meet up with the rest of our family. When we part from each other‘s company at the end of our Sabbath services, we tend to take it for granted that we will see each other again the following Sabbath. I understand that faith re-quires that we believe we have received before we receive and as we pray to God for protection we ought then to believe we shall meet again while on this earth, but I wonder if the reasons for taking these things for granted are really a result of faith.
I recall last year talking to my brother and my aunt about how we would meet up at my father‘s funeral, and how they (my aunt and brother) would make the necessary arrangements and how my family and I should not worry about getting there early seeing we lived further away, little realising they would perish in an accident on their way there. We had all taken it for granted that we would meet there. I remember driving past the scene of a terrible accident in which there had been loss of life and wondering whether or not the families knew that their loved ones had perished, and imagining that they had left home expecting to be reunited later in the day, but it was not to be. How does one pick up the broken pieces after such events? How does one ensure their anchor holds through these storms of life?
I listened a few weeks ago to a testimony from a brother, about how he has optic atrophy - he is gradually losing most of his sight. He has been to countless eye specialists who have informed him that the condition is irreversible. He detailed to us how he has not been able to read for over four years and the struggles he and his family have had to go through in adjusting to this new set of circumstances. As if the struggles that they have been going through in relation to this were insufficient, they had the pain of conceiving, but losing a number of babies pre-term. Coupled with this, he lost his job and only re-cently got employed after an extended period out of work. The clouds seem to have unfolded their wings of strife on this family.
When people get married, they generally have the words "For better or worse, through sickness and health", or some variation in their vows. But I wonder how many of us actually consider what it would be like if our spouses suffered thus. From the rate of divorce and misery when such circumstances hit families, it is evident that many of us do not take these words seriously. We take it for granted that our loved ones will not get so sick that we need to tend for them, especially while we are still at an active age. We take it for granted that we will not become destitute and that we will ever have a source of in-come that will keep living somewhat comfortably.
The question we however need to ask ourselves is this: ―Will our anchor hold when situations deteriorate? Will our faith remain intact when wave after wave of difficulties come our way? Will our anchor drift or firm remain when the strong tides lift and the cables strain? Will we curse God and live, or will we say "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD?"
To my human eye, the brother giving the testimony and his wife seemed at ease with what was tran-spiring in their lives and the adjustments they were making. I did not sense any animosity as a result of their struggles – Yes, I could see pain and a level of apprehension about the future, but they seemed to have their struggles did not seem to have affected their faith. I found myself wondering how I would have coped under such circumstances.
How would you cope with the various scenarios above and their multitude of permutations? My prayer for us is that our response will be: "We have an anchor that keeps the soul, Steadfast and sure while the billows roll, Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Savior‘s love" Our only hope.
*Source: Brother N. Nkomo at www.scribd.com/PrisonersOfHope