I am not afraid of heights…certain kinds of heights. Yesterday, I was doing a few to-do list things around our home. One item was using the leaf blower to clear leaves from our roof. Jan was meeting with someone in town, so I decided to have the job done when she returned. I grabbed a ladder and hauled the leaf blower up the ladder, placing it safely on the roof, and I followed gingerly.
After I was all done, it was time to get down. I shimmied on my bottom to the edge of the roof and froze. If felt like the 8 feet between me and the brick patio below was equal to standing on the cliff edge of El Capitan in Yosemite looking down. The thought of stretching one leg out into open space and engaging the step on the ladder created a paralyzing fear in me. I sat down and thought, “Well, Jan should be home in an hour, so I might as well enjoy the view.“ I had worked up a plan just in case a neighbor saw me and wondered. I had a plan to pretend I was actually doing something up on the roof like a prolonged repair on my leaf blower or just enjoying the view as a confident solitary male scanning the vista of his world. All of these contemplations were taking place as my quivering body held tight to the asphalt shingles near the gutter.
Finally, I saw an angel. My daughter Anna arrived home. I called out, “Anna, could you come here?” I asked Anna to move the ladder to a better angle and hold it as her almost 70-year old father descended the ladder, promising her I would never pull that stunt again – alone.
All of this is drama was coming from a guy who, in his younger days, did some crazy things. As a young SWAT cop, I rappelled off of high-rise buildings, down elevator shafts, and shimmied along a rope stretched between two buildings. The roof of our home was different. I wasn’t anchored. When I rappelled, I personally tied my Swiss Seat and attached my carabiner. The anchor knot on the rappelling ropes were ropes that I personally checked for their security. On one training exercise, we were rappelling off a ten-story building while the winds coming off the San Francisco Bay caused us to swing from side to side like arching rag dolls on a string. No sweat. It was fun because I knew my anchor point and setup were secure and would remain attached no matter how hard the wind blew.
When the writer of Hebrews wrote, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our soul” (Hebrews 6:19), he was describing an anchor of hope that is secured in eternity. That anchor is our hope in God that He will always fulfill His promises. It is not a hope in our circumstances or a preferred outcome. The line connecting us to that anchor is our faith. We can choose to live securely or not. Our anchor of hope is set securely in Heaven by the Promise Keeper and will never be compromised no matter what happens here on Earth. We can ascend and descend the most challenging experiences of life, knowing God’s anchor will never fail, no matter how significant the obstacle or how tight our line of faith is stretched. Fear only comes when we live like we are not anchored to something greater than our best efforts and our worst fears.