Summary: Based on the great hymn Paul shows us that the key to the anchor is the rope.
In Times Like These
One day in 1944, during WWII, a woman was in her kitchen doing her normal tours. Like others of her day, she was tuned into the national radio broadcast. The tragedy of the war was brought home through the news stories and she knew the incredible suffering of the soldiers in battle and their families back home. She felt the Holy Spirit come on her and give her words for a song. She quickly found pen and paper and wrote what the Spirit spoke.
Since that day, the words the Holy Spirit spoke to Ruth Caye Jones have been a source of comfort and strength to millions.
IN TIMES LIKE THESE…
For Mrs. Jones… it means the horrors of war… the poverty of rationing… the tears of those who lost loved ones… and the fear of the great Anti-Christ… Hitler.
For us, IN TIMES LIKE THESE, can mean many things.
It may be having to seek public assistance for the first time… or standing in line at the unemployment office or showing up for an interview
It may be the pain of watching your child’s life spiral out of control because of drugs or bad friends… it may even mean having to bail your child out of jail.
It may be watching your marriage slowly fall apart… because of infidelity or external stress
It may be dealing with the mounting challenges of getting older… diminished health and abilities… increased pain and difficulties… and a sense of uselessness or at least being devalued
It may be when it costs more each month to fill your tank than to pay for the car… or having to choose between medicine or food.
This hymn says, “In times like these you need an anchor.”
And when it comes to our life… we need to have an adequate anchor for our ship (life)
We don’t need to deploy the anchor all the time… only in the storms.
But let me dispel one myth right now… God is our anchor, but He is not just a crutch or a help in the time of trouble.
For many people He is… they only call on God when they need help.
Like so many who call the church every month wanting help with their electric bill.
Most of them don’t come to this church except when they need financial help.
But God is much more than our anchor
He’s our Captain to show us the way
He’s our compass to guide our way
God is there with us when things are going well, to bring us closer to Him
But in those storms, in the hard times… He is there to be our anchor and protect us and keep us safe.
Now let’s get to the message.
God showed me something as He was writing this sermon… something I have never seen before
Paul and his fellow prisoners were being transported to another prison when a terrible storm accosted their ship.
These sailors were probably not rookies, but seasoned salts.
This was not their first storm, so the fact that they were so scared testifies to the severity of the storm.
It was bad, they did not think they could survive, they were sure they were going down, and they were making preparations.
They took ropes and passed them under the hull and cinched them up to strengthen the ship against the waves. They even threw the cargo overboard to lighten the load and allow the boat to float higher and take on less water.
Verse 18 says they even did the unthinkable, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard. This means they were taking desperate measures.
The next day a few of the sailors were so frightened that they attempted an escape in the life raft but their attempt was discovered by Paul and stopped by the captain.
At one point they took soundings… checked the depth of the water and discovered it was getting shallow. At about 90 feet deep, they decided that was close enough to shore because to get closer might cause them to be smashed on the rocks of the coast.
So they threw out four anchors and prayed.
I want you to see… the last thing they did was pray.
Prayer, religion, God were just last ditch anchors for them.
People who do that… never have hope in the storm.
That is the message God gave me.
The average depth of the Mediterranean Sea is 4,900 feet.
Boats do not anchor in water that deep… especially the boats of Paul’s time.
They only anchored in the bays and along the coast where the water was shallow.
Normally, I doubt they would have anchored in water as deep as 90 feet, but would have sailed into the port or closer to shore.