Anchoring to Christ
Do most Americans even think about the fact that the U.S. president was impeached by the House last December and acquitted by the Senate merely seven months ago? The drama of impeachment was played out in the news media 24/7, and millions were tuning in daily to watch and listen to what would happen next. What evaporated all of that concern? Simple. Another crisis took its place, followed by another. Covid-19 and the government’s shuttering much of society. Then the social upheaval in major cities, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And now we are facing a federal election year that is shaping up to be the political battle of the century. So the thought of presidential impeachment, though it loomed larger than life merely months ago, has been driven from the social consciousness.
The fact that we were forced to abandon thinking about one crisis because we were consumed with another, however, reminds us that we live in uncertain times and that situations can dramatically turn in a hurry. It has also demonstrated that governments have a lot of power.
So where do we as believers drop anchor in a time like this, even as the social and political situation in our country could threaten the safety of those who are holding to biblical truth?
We should search for places in the Scripture where comfort is given to believers in similar situations. For example, the author of Hebrews addresses his letter to believers who were facing a far more threatening situation that we are in the U.S. They had already been exposed to public “reproach and affliction,” had gone to prison, and had suffered their houses being plundered (Heb 10:32–34). And the whole letter is written with the idea that the persecution will only grow worse.
So the author reminds them that they have “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb 6:19). In short, this Anchor is the person and work of Jesus Christ. If we are going to find a grounding point, a place that will hold us secure to truth in the contrary winds of societal revolution and competing philosophies, we must anchor to a person, to Christ.
For this reason, when Jesus addresses the seven churches in Revelation, he always starts with a description of himself.
To Ephesus: “The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1).
To Smyrna: “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life” (2:8).
To Pergamum: “The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12).
To Thyatira: “The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze” (2:18).
To Sardis: “The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1).
To Philadelphia: “The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” (3:7).
To Laodicea: “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation” (3:14).
There are several other elements to each of these specific addresses to the churches—commendation, condemnation, a call to hearing, a promise for overcoming. And sometimes these elements are absent in some of the addresses, and sometimes they do not follow exactly the same order. But each address always begins with the description of Jesus.
In other words, when Jesus wants to encourage his church, to steel them during a time when they had suffered persecution and would likely suffer more, he doesn’t minister to them first by telling them how they can obey him better, or even by offering them promises. He starts with who he is.
Everything that he says to his church, everything he wants us to know about world events how we should process them, and how we should live in the world day to day, and what we should imagine about the coming vindication and judgment: it is all predicated upon his identity, that he is who he claims to be.
If we want to remain fixed to an anchor point in any gale, we must find it first in the identity of the one who is sovereign over the storm.