I recently learned from an episode of “How It’s Made” that it takes a really huge anchor to hold a really huge boat, otherwise the boat keeps moving and just drags the anchor along after it. I got to thinking today about how people can be like boat anchors, because if someone is digging in their heels about an issue, they can be like an anchor that is too small for the boat it’s trying to moor.
I realize that the Bible says that hope in Christ is like an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19), but I think sometimes we get caught up in trying to tie more things down than we really need to. I have always loved Gamaliel’s words in Acts 5, “…if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” If we are digging in our heels against something that is from God, we will be like a tremendously under-sized boat anchor being dragged along. In such a situation, the anchor is causing only minor slowing to the boat, but the anchor itself is getting scratched and bounced around by all the rocks and other things that hang out at the bottom of the sea.
I suppose the most difficult part is figuring out whether or not we have become the anchor pulling against God. It’s especially hard because sometimes resistance is part of God’s plan—it refines our thoughts and helps us grow stronger. We are told in the Bible to expect persecution and trouble as we follow Jesus. We even see the disciples being beaten and put in prison. But we also see them responding with joy (e.g. Acts 5:41; Philippians 4; et al). Similarly, Isaiah tells us that, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” The idea of soaring like eagles reminds me of an analogy that my husband uses to describe our relationship—he says that I am the tail to his kite. That’s sort of like an anchor, except instead of making the kite stop altogether like a boat anchor does, the tail provides balance to the flight of the kite. They work together as they fly—but the point is that they DO fly.
So how do we tell whether we’re the anchor or the kite tail? It takes the wisdom of Solomon. When he asked God for wisdom, he literally asked God to “give me a heart that listens” (1 Kings 3:9 GWT). We too gain wisdom by listening—to God, and to people. In the cacophony of voices it can be hard to sort out which ones are worth listening to. Maybe that’s another reason we become boat anchors—it’s easier than having to decide who to listen to. So maybe we just listen to God. That’s a great start. Let’s ask him to give us listening hearts—and to help us to hear his voice and to know when to dig in and when to fly.