I close my eyes, clutching the devices in my hand as I sit on her couch about to begin my fourth session of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
She reads outloud what I have written from my homework assignment to recall ten good memories from before leaving home. “Age 7 or 8—salvation at church. You say about this, ‘I am loved and belong.’”
I shake my head signaling to her that I am ready, and the buzzers I am holding start vibrating back and forth, back and forth, forth and back. My memories from that moment flood into my mind.
The buzzers stop.
“What do you notice?”she asks calmly.
I tell her about my blue dress with the red anchor on the skirt. I recall visualizing Jesus on the cross for my sins and being convicted and also feeling very loved. I remember walking down the aisle of the small baptist church to tell the Pastor. I remember stomping the yellow shag carpet in my room because as a little girl I thought of the devil’s head as any part of the ground. I took it quite literally to stomp the devil out of my life.
Earlier in the week I was reading in Hebrews—bible reading is a way to keep stomping the devil out of your life— and was struck by how chapter six describes HOPE. It’s very different from how hope is often used in our everyday life. “I hope the Braves win the World Series.” “I hope my online order arrives in time.” “I hope it doesn’t rain today.”
These are more like wishes, slight possibilities, but not guarantees. It’s like we view hope the same as blowing the white, fluffy pedals off the dandelion flower. A light, wishful thought that flies in the wind of the unknown.
But no. Hope is not described that way or used in such a whimsical fashion in God’s Word. God says hope is “an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast.” An anchor. An anchor like the one on my blue dress the day I got saved. I had never had a spiritual thought about the anchor on my dress, yet it was embedded in my memory. But after that counseling session combined with my thoughts from God’s Word on how hope was described, I couldn’t shake the personal touch of God in this memory.
I have needed hope like an anchor for my soul as winds have blown. Whether at 7 years old or 12 years old, 15 years old or 20, any season of my thirties and as recently as last week, the anchor of hope has held me steady in the midst of dark storms. Hope in God and His promises are not equivalent to wishful thinking or dandelion pedals being blown in the wind. Hope in God is an ANCHOR for the soul, sure and steadfast. What comfort. And what a stark difference from the hope we are offered in this world, unsure and unsteady. Taking hold of hope is taking hold of Jesus, our living hope–which is what I did as a young girl wearing that blue dress with the red anchor on the skirt. And when I take hold of Jesus, He will not let go of me.
MORE VERSES ON HOPE TO CONSIDER:
Hebrews 6:19 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil,”
Romans 5:5 “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Colossians 1:26-27 “that is, the mystery which had been hidden from the past ages and generations, but now has been revealed to His saints,to whom God willed to make known what the wealth of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles is, the mystery that is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
I Thessalonians 5:8-11 “But since we are of the day, let’s be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.”
I Peter 1:3-9, 13 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”