I have spent the past five years of my life in a health hurricane, a financial blizzard and a relational disturbance. In the midst of these circumstantial cyclones, I have discovered divine direction and peace as I studied the storms that are recorded on the sacred pages of the Bible.
There is an extraordinary and riveting story found in the closing chapters of the book of Acts that describes a vicious storm on the Mediterranean Sea. Paul was a prisoner on a ship bound for Rome that was being battered by the contrary winds and tumultuous waves of this storm. After more than two weeks of battling the wicked typhoon, this is what the Word of God tells us:
“Fearing that we might run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come” (Acts 27:29).
As I read this verse one stormy afternoon, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and directed me to cast four anchors into the water and then wish for daybreak. I wondered to myself, “What are the four anchors that I need to let down?” As expected, the Holy Spirit was quick to answer, and I let down the four anchors that enabled me to withstand the relentless waves and wind of the storm.
- God’s Word. The first anchor that protects my life from the jagged shoreline of circumstances is the Word of God. The eternal truth, divine wisdom and inherent healing power that are found on the sacred pages of the Bible determine my primary anchor of protection. You will never make it through a storm unscathed unless you willfully choose to open the pages of the Bible and then dive in!
- Worship. The second anchor that holds my life steady in the appalling monsoons of life is a choice to worship even in the storm. When the tempest is building force on the horizon of my life, and the forecast is deadly—I choose to worship! When the waves of circumstances are threatening to wash over me, and the riptide is threatening to pull me under—I choose to worship! When the shoreline is dangerously rocky, and I am afraid for my very life—I open my mouth and sing!
The choice to throw the anchor of worship deeply into the waters that surround your life is a decision that every believer needs to make at their worst moment in life—will I sing or not?
- Commitment to prayer. My third anchor is a commitment to prayer. I have found it needful—more times than I can count—to stop talking about my storms and instead start praying about them. Why should I worry about the weather forecast when I serve a God who created the clouds, winds and rain? Why should I cower in fear when my God can speak one word to a storm and cause it to cease in an instant?
Prayer is a place of powerful influence and sweet communion; prayer is the force that makes hell quiver in fear and causes heaven to rise to its feet and joyfully applaud. Eternal, heavenly realities are brought to earth through the participation of believers who are committed to the discipline of prayer.
I have heard it said that “history belongs to those who pray,” and I know that to be true. Prayer is the vehicle through which the greatest work of any of our lives will be accomplished.
- The Holy Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit has always been a part of God’s plan for the believer’s life, just as Jesus has been a part of God’s plan for humanity since before the beginning of time. After His Resurrection, Jesus promised that when He went to heaven to be with God the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit to be here on planet Earth with us.
You will never make it through any storm in life, large or small, if you don’t tap into the power of God’s Spirit—and allow yourself to be changed by it! I have discovered that I am unable to get through even the peaceful, ordinary days of life without the Spirit’s power.
These, then, are four deep anchors that can preserve us in any storm: the Word of God, worship, prayer and the Holy Spirit.
Carol McLeod is a bestselling author and popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She is the author of several books, including StormProof, Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart and Grace Your Tongue and Pass the Joy, Please!
For more from Dr. Carol McLeod on facing life’s storms, listen to the podcast included with this article!