Virtues are good habits of character. No one’s come up with a better way to be happy than to discover how to practice Justice, Courage, Self-Control, Prudence, Faith, Hope, and Love. They are the seven main virtues. They give us more peace inside and out.
In this seven-week series, we dig into a different virtue every week. Welcome to Week Six: Hope.
I rely on you, Lord, my spirit relies on your promise (Psalm 129).
A sign in my neighborhood reads, “Hope Anchors the Soul.” The anchor has been a symbol of hope for centuries, but I didn’t really understand why. Hope is about something good that we don’t have yet – something possible to get, but we’re still waiting or striving for it. Like a birthday boy hopes for Star Wars Legos or his mom hopes for a promotion. But an anchor is just the opposite: deep below us, it is weighty and solid. It restricts the free movement of a ship. So how can hope be like an anchor?
To find out, I call my brother Bill, a ship’s captain, to get his take. He corrects me: “An anchor doesn’t restrict my movement at all,” he says. “It travels on board the ship until I decide it should be dropped. When the anchor is down, it keeps me solid in one place. The anchor keeps the wind, sea, and current from moving me where I don’t want to go. Like a sail,” he says, “it’s a tool I use to get where I want to go.” He adds that being at anchor is a time of needed rest from the constant work of navigating.
Relating that to his spiritual life, he said that finances or sickness are like a storm blowing him off course into fear or despair. Without the anchor of hope, disappointments and frustrations can overcome him like high waves can overcome a ship. Hope in God’s promises keeps his soul safely “at rest,” even when the wind of doubt howls and the waves of adversity crash around him.
An anchor providing rest got my attention. Because hope that God will draw me to himself (if I stay open) saves me from thinking I have to make everything happen – that it’s me who achieves my goals (and makes them!). Thanks to Captain Bill, my new motto when I’m feeling overwhelmed is, “Drop anchor!” Which means that with hope, I can detox from self-reliance and “rest” my soul in the unchanging God who made the sea and everything in it.
Here are three of God’s promises to help you drop-anchor in choppy seas. Scroll down and share which one speaks to you most today:
- Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the pagans seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:31-33).
- For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
- For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
This landlubber wishes you clear skies and smooth sailing!