It was a phone call I’ll never forget. It was from a young woman whose life lay shipwrecked on the California beach from where she was calling. She had a terminal disease, leukaemia. Her husband had left her. Her child had recently died at only two and a half months old. Her friend had just been killed in an auto accident. Wave after wave of loss had crushed this woman’s spirit, and she couldn’t take another day of pain. In whispered tones, she told me that she held a loaded revolver and wondered why she shouldn’t use it to end her misery.
Hope. It’s the one thing you and I cannot live without. But trying to hold on to hope can take all your strength, particularly when hope’s old enemy, doubt, drags you toward despair.
When you’re in despair, logical thinking will not help. You will exhaust yourself trying to sort out God’s reasons for allowing bad things to happen. Even if you could fathom despair’s depths, you’d still be lying in the same hospital bed. Or standing beside the same grave. Or sitting alone in the same empty house. Your head would hold some answers, but your heart would still be aching.
You need more than logic when you’re sinking beneath the waves. You need something solid to hold on to! What can you hold on to when life’s storms crash over you?
The better question is, Whom can you hold on to?
In his magnificent letter, the writer to the Hebrews ushers us into a soaring realm where he highlights the answer:
It is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:17–19)
The writer underscores a fact about God that cannot be said of anyone else. Scripture openly states that “it is impossible for God to lie.” What a great truth on which to fasten your hope! But don’t stop. Follow the writer’s thinking into the next phrase:
This hope . . . leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:19)
The writer is referring to the inner sanctuary of God! The heavenly Holy of Holies where the blood of the sacrifice is poured and mercy is given. Look through the veil and observe whose face the writer illumines:
Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest. (Hebrews 6:20)
How great is that! We see Jesus—the One whose sacrifice pulled back the curtain so you and I can enter God’s refuge. And we hear our Saviour say, Come in. Find here, in the presence of God Himself, relief from the blast of doubts. Receive His mercy.
God’s mercy in your most desperate hour is found only in Christ—the anchor for your soul.
Remember the young woman on the beach? She and I spoke calmly and quietly. I did a lot of listening. I made no promise that she would ever be healed. I spoke to her about Christ and the hope He alone could provide. After a sigh, she hung up.
About thirty minutes later, my phone rang again. It was the same young woman. She told me that she had read from a New Testament a friend had given her. She had called back to say, “I decided, Chuck, to give myself completely to Jesus Christ. I’m still afraid. I still don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring, but I want you to know that I’m trusting Jesus through this. He has given me new hope . . . the one thing I really needed.”
If your sorrow has led you to that same lonely shoreline of despair, let me say to you that this hope, this anchor for your soul, is the only way through your pain. I have no other answer than Jesus Christ.
I can’t promise you healing. I can’t promise your world will immediately turn right-side up. But I can promise He will receive you as you come in faith. I can promise He will be your strength when you cannot go on. He will be trustworthy when everyone betrays you, when nothing else is certain. He will anchor you to the refuge of God’s mercy and no storm will break His hold.
Can I leave you with some solid theology? Remember, God cannot lie. Because His promises are absolutely certain, you will not lose. Furthermore, the Lord Jesus will never leave you.
On this hope, you can be sure.
If you are going through a difficult time, and struggling to hold on to hope, please call us on 0800 787 9364 today. We will listen, pray with you, or refer you to one of our pastors for further care, at your request.