When I was little we had a sailboat called the Fandango. It had navy blue hull, shiny wood finishes and a tiny but efficient galley. I remember sailing from the Marina in Newport, Rhode Island out to a cove where we would swim. We would find just the right spot and then drop the anchor down into the sea bed below. With the boat safely held in place we could swim in the cold, calm water until the sun got low and our tummies rumbled for dinner.
Hebrews 6.19 says this, ‘This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.’ (NLT)
I hope for a lot of things. I hope lockdown will soon be over and I hope I can visit my family in the United States. I hope the team I support will win their next match and that the weather will be nice this weekend.
But Bible hope is a very different.
When the Bible uses the word hope it means a confident expectation. It is describing something that we are sure will happen, even though we can’t see it yet. It is the aspect of our faith that is knowing without seeing, feeling without touching, having without holding.
And this hope described in Hebrews 6 is nothing less than the confident expectation of an eternity with God.
The promise of better things to come isn’t a fairy tale or metaphor. Believing in it isn’t wishful thinking or a mental game we play to make ourselves feel better. It may be beyond our imagination but it isn’t a construct of it. Unlike popular depictions of angels in heaven on meringue-like clouds, the future we are waiting for is solid. It is transcendent but not translucent. It is real and it is good.
And deep in our spirits we know it is true.
We know that there is a place where good will win and suffering will make sense and justice and mercy will kiss.
We know that the God who made the Grand Canyon and orange blossoms and fireflies isn’t done creating and His very best work is yet to be exhibited and enjoyed.
We know we have only scratched the surface of God’s love and that we will need eternity to experience the breadth, depth and height of it.
And we know that as soon as we take our last breath on this earth, we will take our first one in the uncompromised presence of our beautiful Saviour.
We know that this best-of-all stories is also the truest one ever told and that it is actually this life that is only a shadow.
The Apostle Paul describes it like this, ‘ ‘ We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13.12)
As I sit here and type, eternity can feel like an idea, a dream, a story. But it is more real than the chair I am sitting on or the computer keys I tap. Every sweet, perfect moment on earth gives me a momentary, joy-filled taste of what is to come. And every moment of grief and loss, disappointment and pain, reminds me what I will leave behind.
There is a rock my life is anchored to.
And it is holding on to me, keeping me safe until I step into its glorious reality.