Whether you have read the Bible or not, you have probably heard the saying “We have this hope as an anchor for our souls…” (Hebrews 6:19). This is a staple verse, if you will. It’s often written on beautiful decor for your home, fresh-brewed mugs of coffee, even jewelry. Unfortunately, when we see a phrase on a regular basis, it can lose the magnitude of meaning it was intended to have.
So let’s dive into this verse and the surrounding verses in Hebrews to take a closer look at how these truths can radically alter our perceptions, give us peace in the storms of life and the strength to move forward after devastating circumstances.
…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf,having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Verse 18 often gets skipped over but it adds a distinctive meaning for those seeking refuge, which really describes us all at some point or another. The stage is being set here. God is calling out a specific audience, those that have sought refuge in Him. Are you seeking refuge now? Maybe you have walked through losing a job or a loved one, or you are fighting addiction. Seek refuge in Him today!
If you are a survivor of a traumatic event, an abusive relationship or challenging circumstances, I’m right there with you. As a survivor, in my earlier seasons of healing, I always asked myself if the trauma defined me. In fact, when I hit the bottom of the barrel or walk through a powerful storm in life, I still revisit that question. The difference between my earlier years and now is that I have embraced this truth: nothing defines me but God.
Be encouraged that God is with you – you are not facing your circumstances on your own. Maybe the trauma you experienced was years ago but the aftermath still occasionally rears its head. Your trauma does not define you. However, it will always be part of you because it has helped shape who you are today. The way you choose to face (or run from) those past traumatic circumstances will continually shape you.
You may feel discouraged by that statement, but I encourage you to focus on your relationship with God through it all. Even when you are angry with Him, it’s okay to be honest about that in prayer. God knows what you’re thinking, let Him in. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
Take refuge, be encouraged and hold fast! It’s also important to note that the hope is set before you. This then begs the question, what is my hope? Verse 20 gives us the answer.
Jesus has gone before you. Not only is He your savior, but He gets what it’s like to walk this earth. He knows the challenges you face on a daily basis. Jesus can completely empathize with your situation. Hold fast to that hope.
No matter what this life has to offer, if you have a relationship with God through the sacrifice Jesus made, you have hope. You are not bound by your past experiences. No trauma will define you unless you give it that power. Learn from it, grow from it and give it to God through prayer. Rise up and walk in the freedom you have because Jesus has gone before you. The shackles that once held you captive are removed; the prison cell door is unlocked and open.
Now it’s up to you. Will you cast your pain, your despair and your fear on God and walk out of your cell? Things will not instantly be perfect. Oftentimes it’s a daily choice to let go of the hurt. But through Christ you can make that choice daily and walk in freedom.
Lauren Cartwright lives in Burlington, VT, where she serves as a collegiate missionary and is involved in women’s ministry. She blogs at www.pursuinghope.org