Spiritual Sailing Part 7: A Sure Anchor in the Storm

Isaiah 54:11
      O thou afflicted, tossed with a tempest, and not comforted.

 J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): The Lord here compares His suffering Church to a ship at sea, under bare poles, labouring in a heavy storm, driven out of her course by contrary winds, as was Paul’s case in the Adriatic, and doubtful whether she will ever reach the harbour…
       What a picture of a tempest tossed soul! Sun and stars beclouded, compass lost, chart useless, pilot absent, and breakers ahead! Many, very many of the Lord’s dear family are thus “tossed with tempest;” some with a tempest of doubts and fears; others with a tempest of lust and corruptions; some with a tempest of rebellion and fretfulness; others with a storm of guilt and despondency, or with gloomy forebodings and dismal apprehensions. Thus they are driven from their course, their sun and stars all obscured; no clear evidences, no bright manifestations; darkness above and a raging sea beneath; no harbour in sight, and hope of reaching desired haven almost gone.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Doubts, fears, terrors, anxieties lift their heads like so many angry waves, when once the Lord allows the storm-winds to beat upon us…Borne aloft on the crest of the wave, the sailors and their vessels appear to climb the skies, but it is only for a moment, for very soon in the trough of the sea they go down again to the depths. As if their vessel were but a sea bird, the mariners are tossed “up and down, up and down, from the base of the wave to the billow’s crown.” Their soul is melted because of trouble. Weary, wet, dispirited, hopeless of escape, their heart is turned to water, and they seem to have no manhood left. Those who have been on the spiritual deep in one of the great storms which occasionally agitate the soul know what this verse means. In these spiritual cyclones presumption alternates with despair, indifference with agony! No heart is left for anything, courage is gone, hope is almost dead.

 A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Or worse still, we are tempted to entertain hard thoughts against God, and to say “the Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

 C. H. SPURGEON: Such an experience is as real as the tossing of a literal tempest and far more painful. Some of us have weathered many such an internal hurricane, and have indeed seen the Lord’s wondrous works…Get hold of the promises of God, when you feel downcast, and when the wind is in the east.

 FAITHFUL TEATE (1600-1666): [But] if dost thou lean upon the promises of God themselves, and not upon Jesus Christ in them, all will come to nothing…Whence is it that so many souls bring a promise to the throne of grace, and carry so little away from it? They lean upon the promises without leaning on Christ in the promise.

 STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): The promise, simply considered, is not the object of trust, but God in the promise; and from the consideration of that we ascend to the Deity, and cast our anchor there. “Hope in the word” is the first act, but succeeded by hoping in the Lord: “In his word do I hope,” Psalm 130:5―that is not all; but, “Let Israel hope in the Lord,” verse 7. That is the ultimate object of faith.

 GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): A never-failing maxim is here proposed: Hope thou in God. Trust in God, believe in God; for I am sure, and all of you that know Jesus Christ are persuaded of it too, that all our troubles arise from our unbelief…O the righteousness of Christ! It so comforts my soul, that I must be excused if I mention it in almost all my discourses. This, and this only, a poor sinner can lay hold of, as a sure anchor of his hope. Whatever other scheme of salvation men may lay, I acknowledge I can see no other foundation whereon to build my hopes of salvation, but on the rock of Christ’s personal righteousness, imputed to my soul.

 WILLIAM HOOK (1600-1677): In these and like cases, what will you do without casting the anchor of your hope?

 ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): O the righteous must trust then, even in death! See how David did so in Psalm 42:5, Why art thou cast down O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him. See also Psalm 61:2, From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

 WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679):I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13:5―there is the promise; and the inference, which he teacheth us to draw by faith from this, follows (verse 6), “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper.”

 C. H. SPURGEON: It is God, even thy God, God that cannot lie, who speaks to thee.

 JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Let therefore your spirits be calmed, and pray the Lord to command a calm in them, which are committed to Him. Bespeak your souls, as David did his, Psalm 42, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God; for He is faithful that has the oversight of me.’ And essay with Paul, to say, ‘I know whom I have believed, and so shall not be ashamed; I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him, against that day.

 

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