Anchored in Hope
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” (Hebrews 6:19)
The context of this astounding passage (see Hebrews 6:13-20) begins with a person many of us recognize and have heard a lot about (Abraham), and ends with a guy who honestly, is still quite a mystery and leaves most of us scratching our heads (Melchizedek). But right towards the end of this passage, we are given a remarkable metaphor for a prominent theme in the Bible. It’s a word that we use more often than we realize, and it’s actually a word that represents one of the three pillars of the Christian faith: Hope (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13). Biblical hope is not mere optimism based on the odds, but instead is a choice to wait on God to bring about a promised future.
Biblical hope is not mere optimism based on the odds, but instead is a choice to wait on God to bring about a promised future.
A Story of Hope
While writing to a persecuted Jewish Christian audience, the author of Hebrews proclaims that they—and by extension, you and I—have a hope that is an anchor for our soul. Now while this sounds like a pretty sweet image, and one that evokes some cool logos and song lyrics, the power of this metaphor is directly connected to a promise made by God to Abraham.
What the author of Hebrews has in mind here are two key moments in the life of Abraham. One is when he initially promised to bless him and to make him a great nation in Genesis 12.
We would do well to remember that Abraham was 75 years old when God made this promise and that he had to wait 25 years for it to be fulfilled! We see this pattern all the time in Scripture. God makes a promise, and then a long season of waiting follows. But why? Because God ordains seasons of waiting to build the character required to steward His promises wisely once they’re fulfilled. To put it another way, I’ve heard it said that if God is making you wait, He is making you ready.
God ordains seasons of waiting to build the character required to steward His promises wisely once they’re fulfilled.
While much happens after that moment in Genesis 12, we see the next key scene in the story of Abraham in this passage when God makes an oath by promising, once again, that He will “bless and multiply Abraham.” But the powerful detail about that quotation is that it comes from Genesis 22. By way of reminder, this is when God tested Abraham after he received the promise of an heir being born to him. He was commanded to offer up Isaac to the Lord as a sacrifice. Hebrews 11 says that Abraham even believed that God could raise his one and only son from the dead in order to make good on His promise.
Hope is a Person
So what does this promise to Abraham have to do with us almost 4,000 years later? Well, if you could sum up the whole book of Hebrews in one word it would be the word “better”. The whole point of this book is that Jesus is better. He’s the better prophet. He’s the better king. He’s the better high priest, the better sacrifice, the bringer of a better covenant and a better promise guaranteed by His life, death, and resurrection, which will one day be fully realized at His second coming. Jesus, our forerunner, has gone before those of us who are heirs of the original promise God made to Abraham. We are a people that are blessed and multiplied as carriers of His presence until every nation hears the good news of the Kingdom of God and receives the unshakable hope found in the eternal life that only Jesus can provide.
The greatest promise that God made and has fulfilled in Jesus is His continual presence with us, which is why we can have strong encouragement. As the author of Hebrews says,
This is the hope that is an anchor for our souls.
The greatest promise that God made and has fulfilled in Jesus is His continual presence with us.
This passage is about tethering our lives to the hope Jesus provides. But, beloved, this is not just for us individually. This kind of anchoring hope is meant to equip us not just to stay steady and grounded in the midst of life’s storms, but to actually go into the storms and minister this hope to others.
What’s the Rope to Your Barn?
In his book, Hidden Wholeness, Christian author Parker Palmer illustrates the truth of this text in a stunning way. Palmer opens the book by recounting the time when farmers on the Great Plains would tie a rope from the back door of their home out to the barn at the first sign of a blizzard. They had all heard stories of fellow farmers who froze to death because they got lost in the backyard during the whiteout conditions of a bad blizzard.
Palmer goes on to write, “Today we live in a blizzard of another sort. It swirls around us as economic injustice, ecological ruin, physical and spiritual violence, and their inevitable outcome, war. It swirls within us as fear and frenzy, greed and deceit, and indifference to the suffering of others.”
Our rope, or anchor point, is sunk deeply upon our heavenly home so that we can fulfill God’s purposes as His ambassadors on earth. The purpose of knowing our anchor point is to equip us with the courage and resiliency to not only persevere under trial, but also to willingly enter into the storms, difficulties, and sufferings of others so that we can stand in the gap and minister the hope of Christ.
This week, may we cling to the anchoring hope that’s rooted in the presence of Christ, awaiting with blessed anticipation our glorious future as heirs of His promise.
Copyright © 2023 Justin Jeppesen. All rights reserved
 Adapted from https://bibleproject.com/bible-studies/yakhal-hope/
 Excerpt from Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. Jossey-Bass, 2004.