Hard Times. Trying times.
Confusing times. Volatile Times. Polarizing times. The times in which we live can be described in any number of ways. Most of those descriptions carry an ominous and frightening tone. To be sure, these are also opportune times. Opportunities abound in the midst of all the challenge we face.
But make no mistake, we are in the middle of a cultural storm of gale force. This makes me think once again of Jesus’ final analogy in the Sermon on the Mount as He speaks of the wise and foolish builders—you know, the house on the rock and the house on the sand. It is in the storms of life that we find out not only what we are made of, but on what we have been building our lives. It is then that the foundation of our life’s efforts is revealed, not only to ourselves but also to the world around us.
This is the same point that the hymn writer Priscilla Jane Owens makes with these words written well over 100 years ago:
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?
Her answer mirrors the teaching of Jesus concerning the wise. She simply uses a different metaphor.
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love
The storm is a-brewin’. Now is the time to secure your anchor, to firm up your foundation. Patrick of Ireland penned the following words (much abbreviated due to space) that I submit for your prayerful consideration and adoption.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
Thy strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.