Monday, April 04, 2005

Checking the anchors

One of the recurring lessons in my life - and one that I often struggle to remember - is a lesson from the very first Christian author I ever read, Max Lucado. In his classic book Six Hours One Friday, he described an oncoming hurricane, and his attempts to save a houseboat he and some friends had bought, which was in danger of being destroyed. After a series of attempts that he described as "a scene from McHale's Navy, he got some great advice from an old sea-veteran:
If you tie your boat to land or trees, she'll get eaten by the 'cane. The only thing you can do is set some deep anchors, and let her ride it out. Just anchor deep, say a prayer, and hold on.
In classic preacher style, Lucado gave me three anchor points to hold onto:
+My life is not futile
+ My failures are not fatal
+ My death is not final
I have to admit that I've forgotten those lessons this last week. I'd like to tell you that I've been busy, and life has been just too intense to sit down and post here - but the fact is that I've been in a bit of a funk. The Alcoholics Anonymous text calls it "regretting the past and wishing to shut the door on it." In case you're wondering, it's not a good place to be...

Then a devotion from the church I'm attending here in Chicago talked about "going with what you know," which brought up Max's quotes from 15 years ago...and a piece of Scripture which has been one of my anchor points:
I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:12-16, NRSV)
I don't know if any of you needed to hear that piece of good news today...but I sure did. The apostle Paul and I, evidently, are both proof that God can use broken tools to build God's Kingdom...and I'm going to try to rest secure in that knowledge today.


Nick said...

Reminds me of a slogan that gave me great comfort in my drinking days. "You can't fall off the floor." I'd rather be at the table though. "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death."

dudehead said...

Reminds me of Manning's phrase "accepting acceptance."

Keep trudging...

Larry said...

The AA is the closest thing to the primitive church that you're likely to find: they love each other.

However look also for a nurturing spiritual community. You may have to look a long way.