I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of the stuff of life as weights. Job pressures. Anxiety. Family pressures. Temptations. Exterior expectations both reasonable and unreasonable. Regrets. Lofty goals. Financial needs. An incessant to-do list. A too-full calendar. I can’t help but think of them as the heavy weights on my shoulders. They are the rocks that keep getting piled on, the bricks that keep getting tossed to a drowning man.
It’s all…well…weighty. Weights slow us down. They can immobilize us. When we toss out phrases like “the weight of the world,” its for a good reason: the weight of life is heavy. It crushes. It hurts.
The author of Hebrews speaks to weight, but not as I think of the term, and maybe not as you always think of it. In Hebrews 6, he says
…[that] we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf… (Hebrews 6:18b-20a, ESV)
If the imagery of Hebrews is to be believed, the stuff of life is not as much like a weight as it is a wave. If you’ve ever been in a choppy ocean, maybe that’s not much more comforting. Waves keep rolling in. Waves sometimes crash down upon us without warning. Waves can be disorienting and disconcerting. They are here now, gone in a moment, but soon replaced by another that’s following behind.
If we know anything about waves, we know that we can’t control them. However, neither do we have to let them toss us.
Here’s the twist in Hebrews: rather than talking about our troubles as a weight, the author encourages us to look to the weight of our hope. And that weight has a name: Jesus.
Jesus: the forerunner of our faith.
Jesus: the instigator and finisher of our salvation.
Jesus: the hope set before us.
Jesus: the sure and steadfast anchor of our soul.
Anchors hold us fast when the waves come crashing down. Waves move; anchors do not. Waves toss us; anchors tether us. Waves make us wonder “What’s next?” Anchors let us hold to what’s known.
Verse 19 tells us that the hope of Jesus is a sure and steadfast anchor of our soul. That hope isn’t based on us, but on one outside of us. That hope doesn’t rest on our current situation, but the finished work of Mount Calvary.
It is sure: we can count on it, depend on it, believe in it.
It is steadfast: it will be here tomorrow. It will be just as strong tomorrow. It’s not going anywhere.
You’d better believe that the stuff of life will happen. Your calendar is not going to magically clear out this week. Your inbox is not going to spontaneously empty. Your anxieties will still come. Your temptations will still rear their heads, the expectations from others will still roll in.
Some days will be more tolerable than others, some will feel lighter than others. But when the waves begin to feel like a weight, remember that there is a greater weight beneath the surface. The hope before you is a sure and steadfast anchor.
Let that hope hold you today.