Page loves tennis. She loves playing with her friends on the weekends, but her back pain eventually became too much for a couple of pain pills to handle. During an appointment, where she hoped to get help for the pain, her chiropractor felt something odd. After taking an X-ray, he returned to Page’s room and told her they were waiting at the hospital for her. She soon discovered the cause of her back pain - a cancerous tumor.
Troy is anxious. He and Amanda moved to a new city this summer with their young kids. Balancing two working parents and kids in a new school will be hard enough. Between navigating cold-and-flu season with limited paid-time-off and trying to make new friends they can count on for help, this young couple misses the family and close friends they left behind to pursue this new job.
Page and Troy are living a truth many of us have experienced. It reminds me of a concept I ran across once: "Everyone is either heading into, in the middle of, or coming out of a crisis."
While this might seem a bit dark, that quote echoes the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 11:8: “When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days.”
Whether you’re in the middle of a crisis or just trying to get your kids ready to switch from summer break mode back into school mode, it’s important to have an anchor to tie onto in stormy waters. In the book of Hebrews, we read about our anchor as followers of Jesus: HOPE. This hope is based upon two “strong, trustworthy and unchangeable” things: His promise and His oath.
“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” -Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)
But, if we can be really honest for a minute, knowing about this kind of hope in our heads just isn’t enough when we’re in the midst of a crisis or navigating through a season filled with change. In the storm, we need our souls to be chained to something stable.
3 Ways To Hold Onto Your Anchor
1. Engage with Scripture in a Fresh Way
Too many of us struggle with engaging Scripture but feel too much shame to be able to admit it. If this is hard you’re not alone, but it’s hard to hold onto this anchor of hope if you never engage the promises and oaths of God!
What if you switched Bible translations to find familiar truths expressed in unfamiliar ways? Could you listen to a chapter per day instead of reading it? Would your experience be different if you read in the afternoon instead of the morning? I can only speak for myself, but when I’m not feeling motivated or engaged by Scripture, a simple shift like this flips a switch and I find myself re-engaged.
2. Develop a New Prayer Practice
You may have been taught to pray before meals, on your knees next to your bed, or with your head bowed at church, but those aren’t the only ways or times to practice prayer. What would it look like if you went for a walk without a Fitbit to measure your steps or headphones to drown out your thoughts? What if you talked with God while breaking a sweat?
What if you took 5 minutes each day to intentionally think and talk before God without editing yourself? Could writing down these thoughts help you not only take your burdens to God but allow God to speak into them too?
As the father of young kids, I chose to set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier most days this summer. I knew I wouldn’t be able to have enough peace and quiet to pray, read Scripture, and write a page in my journal if I got up as late as possible (because my kids are up with the sun).
3. Connect with an “AND” Friend
One of the most remarkable qualities of Jesus is described by the Apostle John, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” (John 1:14 NLT) Many translations render the words “unfailing love and faithfulness” as “grace and truth.” It’s amazing that Jesus knows us better than anyone else and loves us more than everyone else.
We were designed to navigate life together - with Jesus and others. In order to hold on to this hope, to not disconnect from the anchor for our soul, we need “AND” friends - friends who have unfailing love AND faithfulness. A true friend is one who holds space for us to show up and be real, without merely blessing our attitude and actions on any given day. A true friend also holds a mirror up to us, showing us our strengths AND weaknesses. Proverbs 27:6 tells us “wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” AND friends are a rare gift!
Dark days may be part of life, but they don't have to be our worst days.
We have an anchor for our souls. Our hope is in the promise and oath of God - a God who cannot lie and in whom there is no falsehood. As seasons change and moments of crisis come and go, look for the seemingly small practices that keep you chained to that anchor. You can thrive in the storm, as long as your hope anchor holds!
Scott Savage is a pastor and a writer. He leads Cornerstone Church in Prescott, Arizona. Scott is married to Dani and they are the parents of three “little savages.” He is the creator of the and you can read more of his writing at