Sunday, March 29, 2009
"An anchor is an object, often made out of metal, that is used to attach a ship to the bottom of a body of water at a specific point. An anchor works by resisting the movement force of the vessel which is attached to it. There are two primary ways to do this—via sheer mass, and by "hooking" into th seabed. While permanent moorings can use large masses resting on this seabed this is not practical for temporary anchors which need to be stowed onboard so almost all temporary anchors are of the type which have metal flukes which hook on to rocks in the bottom or bury themselves in soft bottoms." (Wikipedia)
I've been thinking about how hope and other gospel principles are anchors to our souls and it got me curious about anchors themselves. As you can see I did a little research (just what I found on wikipedia, but it sounded correct.) As I was reading up on what anchors are and how they work I found that I could better relate to all of the references to anchors in our spiritual lives.
As I thought about the fact that there are two main types of anchors (temporary and permanent) I thought about how we most often use temporary anchors in our lives. We experience many changes of course in our lives and can't stay stationary on the seas of life for very long. If we were to have a permanent anchor it would hold us back and keep us from moving into other areas of the sea of life, where maybe the fishing is better or the water calmer. I think that in spiritual terms a permanent anchor might be something like putting all of our hope in a gospel principle that we've come to rely on solely and to the exclusion of other principles. If we take one good part of the gospel and focus all of our energy on it then we aren't learning and growing in other areas. We are stuck in place and will not be much use in the kingdom because we can't move and change positions to be available to those who need us. Or if, during a severe trial, we decide to hold fast to where we are in fear of moving on we might be using that fear as a permanent anchor. Another permanent anchor might be when we put all of our hope into one thing without seeking to know if it's the thing God wants us to pursue. This can hold us back and keep us chained to a part of the seabed that wasn't meant for us to stay on.
It seems like a contradiction to think that hope would be a temporary anchor in our lives, but I think it is. It is something that we carry with us at all times but it's during the storms of our lives that we lower that anchor to the seabed and let it hold us there until the seas calm again. It keeps us from being swept out to sea or, conversely, being pushed into the rocky shores and broken to pieces. Hope, like many other gospel principles, keeps us at a certain place for a certain amount of time- until it's time to move on. We never really give up on hope but as we come to the end of a trial, as the waves are subsiding and the sun is starting to shine again, we can pull that anchor back up onto our vessel and continue on our journey. Our anchor is always on board, but it's only put into the water to keep us in place when it's needed.
We have many different anchors that we carry with us on our journey. Hope, faith, and love are just the beginning. I can picture my own vessel with each of these as anchors- different sizes, shapes and designs- and I can see how I have been able to use each one on it's own or in conjunction with one of the others to help me hold fast to Christ during the challenges I've faced in my life. God doesn't send us out on the ocean without the proper equipment and guides to help us navigate. It's up to us to recognize them, learn how to properly use them, and to know when to drop anchor or to sail on.