Afloat in the Storms of Life Part 3
Our Anchor of Hope
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
November 23, 2003
Main Passage: 2
Corinthians 5:1-10 (NLT)
The last couple of weeks
we’ve been talking about Staying Afloat in the Storms of Life. We’ve
talked about how we all have to endure storms… times of upheaval… that
come our way. Most of the time these storms are unexpected. They come
upon us suddenly and we don’t have a whole lot of time to prepare.
Sometimes we’re given a bit of forewarning and we can kind of brace
ourselves for the inevitable.
The storms of life can be caused by any number of things. The death of
someone we love, the loss of a job, a prolonged illness, an unexpected
accident, relational problems, financial pressures… so many things can
cause a personal storm.
We’ve addressed some of these things over the past couple weeks and
talked about some of the ways that we can handle these storms when they
come. If you’ve missed the past couple weeks and would like to catch
up, you can find those messages on our website. This morning, though,
we’re going to talk about the one thing that is able to encourage us,
sustain us, and keep us going despite the storms. Hope.
Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure.
Hope is described in the Bible as an anchor. Why? What good is an
anchor? What does an anchor do?
[steadies a ship, holds it fast, keeps it from drifting away or off
course, lets you sleep easy]
An anchor has the ability to steady a boat in surging waves or shifting
tides. It keeps the vessel from losing its way or drifting off course,
it keeps the ship from being at the mercy of the winds. If you’re out
on a ship and you want to go below into the cabin and catch a nap, you
can drop the anchor and not worry about where the ship is going to go
while you’re asleep. They provide a certain peace and assurance that
everything’s all right.
Here’s something else about anchors: anchors are not always used. When
the weather’s fine and you’re just out sailing around, you’re not using
the anchor. The anchor’s pretty much useless at that time. But it’s
there for when you need it.
And that’s what Hope is like. Hope gives us the peace and assurance
that everything will be all right. It keeps us from being at the mercy
of the storm. It’s there for when we need it.
“Hope sees the invisible...feels the intangible...and achieves the
~ “Did You See That?” (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000)
“When there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.”
~ John Maxwell
So this morning we’re going to talk about this Hope. Specifically,
we’re going to look at the basis of our hope. And as we do that, we’re
going to identify four of the reasons we can have hope. You can use
your notes to follow along.
The Basis of Our Hope:
We’re going to take the
word Hope and form an acronym with the letters. One reason we can have
hope is because of the…
Holy Spirit’s Presence
The presence of the Holy
Spirit in the life of the believer gives reason for hope. The Holy
Spirit is often referred to as the Third Person of the Trinity… which
means He is God. And when the Holy Spirit enters your life, He makes
certain offers to you. Let me list three of them.
Holy Spirit offers…
Romans 8:6 (NLT)
If your sinful nature controls your
mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there
is life and peace.
And there are several other verses that link the presence of the Holy
Spirit with peace, comfort, encouragement and rest. In John 14 for
example, Jesus is telling His disciples that He will soon be leaving
them. He tells them…
John 14:26-27 (NLT)
“But when the Father sends the
Counsellor as my representative—and by the Counsellor I mean the Holy
Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I
myself have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and
heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So
don't be troubled or afraid.”
[Note: some translations use "Comforter" instead of "Counsellor"]
There’s an old song I used to sing while growing up that says…
Where The Spirit Of The Lord Is
By Stephen R. Adams
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is peace
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is love
There is comfort in life's darkest hour
There is light and life
There is help and power in the Spirit
In the Spirit of the Lord
© 1973 Pilot Point Music (Lillenas [Admin. by The Copyright Company])
CCLI License No. 2226745
The Holy Spirit offers you Peace. He also offers you Power.
In Luke 24, Jesus tells His disciples…
Luke 24:49 (NLT)
“And now I will send the Holy Spirit,
just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy
Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
Again in the book of Acts, Jesus tells them…
Acts 1:8 (NLT)
“But when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere…”
And in Romans, the apostle Paul wrote;
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
So I pray that God, who gives you hope,
will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you
overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives you power, not to erase the difficulties of life,
but to overcome them.
He offers you peace and power, and He offers you prayer.
Did you know the Holy Spirit prays for you? When you’re at the lowest
of your lows, when the storm’s at its very worst, when you’re trying to
pray but you can’t even find the words to say, that’s when the Holy
Spirit steps in and prays to God the Father for us.
Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our
distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we
should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that
cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows
what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in
harmony with God's own will.
You can have hope because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your
life. If you have accepted Jesus as God, if you have accepted that what
He did on the cross He did for you, if you have received His
forgiveness and have pledged to live for Him, then the Holy Spirit is
alive and well in your life. Allow Him to give you the hope you need.
If you’re here and the Holy Spirit is not part of your life because you
haven’t received the forgiveness of Jesus, I’m here to tell you that
you can receive Him today. Simply using your own words through prayer,
express your desire to receive His forgiveness, to live for Him from
this moment on, and to enjoy the presence of His Spirit in your life.
It’s as simple as that. You can do it right now where you’re at in the
quietness of your heart. Receive Him, and receive the hope that He is
offering to you.
You can have Hope because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can
also have hope because…
Obstacles Present Opportunities
The troubles you
experience in life can bring some heartache and pain, but they can also
present you with opportunities. What kinds of opportunities? Let me
give you five.
experience personal and spiritual growth
James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever
trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your
faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow,
for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in
character and ready for anything.
1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)
These trials are only to test your
faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire
tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to God than
mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery
trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day
when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Didn’t realize that “No pain, no gain” is actually a biblical
principle, did you? The Bible is quite clear that the hard times we go
through help to develop our faith and our strength of character.
The obstacles we face also provide us with the opportunity…
To learn to
depend on God
Psalm 25:5 (NLT)
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for
you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Psalm 121:2 (NLT)
My help comes from the LORD, who made
the heavens and the earth!
The obstacles we face help us to understand that God and God alone is
truly able to help us navigate these storms. We can put our hope in Him
without worrying about it being misplaced. In a world where
independence and self-sufficiency is paramount and seen as a sign of
strength, we need to get back to the reality that only in humbling
ourselves before God and acknowledging our dependence on Him can true
strength be found.
James 4:10 (NLT)
When you bow down before the Lord and
admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honour.
the Light of Christ through the Darkness
In Mark 13, Jesus told His disciples that they would experience storms.
He told them that they would be arrested and beaten, they’d be taken to
court and forced to stand trial. And in all this, He told them, “Don’t
worry ‘bout it.” He told them the Holy Spirit would help them deal with
the charges, and what they were to do was use the storm as an
opportunity to tell people about Him.
The obstacles we face provide us an opportunity to shine the light of
Christ in the darkness. How? How can people see the light of Christ
when we’re going through a storm?
[People can see our peace, they see how we handle the storm, the see
that God really does make a difference in our lives, they see that
faith is real…]
You know, it’s interesting. I can be watching TV and some religious
leader may be interviewed on CNN or NewsWorld, and if they start to
talk about their faith, they’ll be cut off. But if someone who has gone
through a traumatic experience is being interviewed and they start to
talk about how their faith carried them through it, people listen.
Obstacles provide opportunities to share who God is to you and what He
has done for you.
experience the Blessings of God
It’s only because of the storms we go through that we can truly
appreciate the blessings of God. If we never experienced difficulty, we
wouldn’t be able to understand the blessings. When we’re in the middle
of a storm and we experience His peace, when our lives are in uproar
and we see Him at work, when He guides us through a time of turbulence
and delivers us safely on the other side… that’s when we can understand
and appreciate His blessings.
The book of Lamentations in the Old Testament is appropriately named,
because the entire book contains laments, or words of regret and
sorrow. Jerusalem has been destroyed, the Temple had been destroyed,
Israel has seen some pretty bad days, and the writer expresses an
overwhelming sense of loss about everything that has happened. The
pivotal point of the book is found in chapter 3.
Lamentations 3:19-25 (NLT)
The thought of my suffering and
homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful
time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I
The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been
kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies
begin afresh each day. I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!"
The LORD is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.
The blessings of God, the faithfulness of God, the mercies of God are
all evident in spite of the storms.
more effectively to others
We talked about this in our LIFE Group a couple of weeks ago. God has
the remarkable ability to take the storms of our lives and use them to
help us minister to other people who are going through similar storms.
Why? Because you’re able to identify with those people and show them
how God helped you through it.
So our Christian Hope is
based on the Holy Spirit’s Presence, on the fact that the Obstacles of
life present us with Opportunities, and thirdly, on the fact that
prayer connects us with God.
Prayer Connects Us with God
In the town of Port Hope
in Ontario, there is a monument erected, not for a politician or a war
hero, but for a poor, unselfish working man who gave most of his life
and energy to help those who could not repay him.
Joseph Scriven was born in Dublin 1820. In his younger days, he had the
potential of becoming a great citizen with high ideals and great
aspirations. At the time, he was engaged to a beautiful young woman who
had promised to share in his dreams, but on the eve of their wedding
her body was pulled from a pond into which she had accidentally fallen
Joseph never overcame the shock. Although he was already a college
graduate and ready embark on a brilliant career, he began to wander to
try to forget his sorrow. His wanderings eventually brought him to
Canada where he spent the last forty-one of his sixty-years. It was
during this time that he became a devoted Christian. One of the results
of his new-found faith was that he did a lot of work to help poor
widows and sick people. In fact, a lot of times he worked for free.
He had a secret ability, though. You see, he was a bit of a poet.
Nobody knew about it because he kept it a secret. But a short time
before his death, a friend was sitting with him while he was ill. And
while visiting, this friend discovered a poem Joseph had written to his
mother during a time of sadness.
This poem was later set to music and has become a favourite hymn. From
what I understand, it’s actually the first song that many missionaries
teach in their works. In the polls and surveys taken to determine the
popularity of hymns and Gospel songs, Joseph’s poem is always near the
top. Some of you probably know this hymn. It’s actually one of my
favourites. It says:
"What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer."
God has provided us with the incredible gift of prayer. Prayer enables
us to communicate directly with Him. Regardless of what we’re going
through, regardless of any storm, the signal is always clear and we can
always connect with Him.
James 5:13 (NLT)
Is any one of you in trouble? He should
pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
Romans 12:12 (NLT)
Be patient in trouble, and always be
The brings us to the fourth reason we can have hope. We can have hope
because of our expected future.
I would say that this is
the greatest reason to have Hope: because God has promised us a future
For the Christian, hope is not just wishful thinking; it is a sure
expectation. It’s the assurance that God is going to come through on
His promises. In fact, He’s given us His guarantee.
2 Corinthians 5:5 (NIV)
Now it is God who has made us for this very
purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is
Yeah, we have to endure a lot of junk in our lives. We all experience
disappointment and frustration and heartache and sorrow and loss and
confusion and turmoil. No one is exempt from this. But the fact of the
matter is, it’s temporary. It’s very real, but it’s temporary. Anchor
your hope on the promises of God and you’ll be able to weather the
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 17-18 (NLT)
We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give
up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get
knocked down, but we get up again and keep going…
For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet
they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!
So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look
forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon
be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
And forever is a long, long time.
Would you close your
eyes for a couple minutes? Perhaps you’ve been going through a
particularly rough time in your life. Perhaps you haven’t even told
anyone about it. You need to know that you’re not alone. If you are a
believer, then God is right there with you, and He is offering you Hope
as an anchor that will help you weather the storm. Grab hold of that
hope and don’t let it go. If you would like to acknowledge that you are
clinging to this Hope and that you need prayer for the storm you are
enduring, then slip up your hand. I won’t embarrass you by mentioning
you by name, but I’d be happy to pray for you.
If you’re not a believer… if you’ve never accepted Christ into your
life but you’d like to do that today, then this is your opportunity.
You can know this Hope. You can know His Peace in your life. If that’s
where you’re at and you’d like to begin a hope-filled relationship with
Jesus today, then slip up your hand and I’ll pray for you.
* * * * *
He is the hope, He is the peace
That will make this life complete
For every man, woman, boy and girl
Looking for Heaven in the real world.
~ Steven Curtis Chapman ~