0105. Anchored to God

In structural engineering, there is a specialized field called bracing of nonstructural components. Elements of a building, such as a home’s water heater or chimney, are vulnerable to tipping over or collapsing in the event of a strong earthquake or wind force, causing property damage or possibly bodily harm. As such, they are anchored to the main structure for safety purposes.

In the 2022 movie Everything Everywhere All at Once, the lead character, played by Michelle Yeoh, discovers that her meager life as a laundromat owner is just one possible outcome of many lives she lives. As an example, she finds one alternate timeline where she did not marry, and became a famous martial arts actor. The problem she faces is that she finds she has the ability to access any and all of these alternate lives at any time. Having access to this causes her to become unanchored to her true reality. After all, if you realized there was an alternate you living a better life, and could access it, why would you want to stay in your own reality? She also struggles with the fact that if there are infinite versions of ourselves living out every possible outcome, what is the meaning in any of the choices she makes, past or present?

Many in our culture today also choose to immerse themselves in different realities, rather than live their real lives. Some choose to spend many hours playing video games. Some get lost in the surface realities of social media feeds, all showing them a better lifestyle than the one they are currently living. All of us are bombarded with constant advertising showing us products and services that promise to make our lives better. Mark Zuckerberg is even spending billions of dollars trying to create a virtual metaverse, as made popular by the book and film Ready Player One. As a result, many of us are drifting in our real lives without much purpose. After all, with all these better options to choose from, why would we spend another minute in our own cold, drab existence?

The term anchor today also carries a negative connotation. An anchor is seen as something holding us back from obtaining our goals and dreams. This restraint is preventing us from achieving our true potential, or so they say. If we shed our shackles and pursue whatever our heart desires, then we will find ultimate happiness. This is another reason many in our culture are like boats and ships adrift on the ocean.

The problem with this interpretation is similar to the structural engineering specialization described above. On most days, an unanchored water heater or chimney does not have any consequence. The only day it becomes a liability is when an earthquake hits. In other words, during turbulent events, being unanchored can be very dangerous. And unfortunately, our culture is entering some very turbulent times. Political divisions, economic downturns, emotional distress, and natural disasters, are just some of the strife our country is facing today, and many have lost faith in what they believed was true. It is in times like these that reveal those who are prepared to deal with our true reality, and those who do not have a real clue what is going on because they have been living a fantasy.

So how do we go about staying steadfast in our reality and riding out this storm? The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the answer in Matthew 7:24-27 (CSB): “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.” Hebrews 6:19 (CSB) also confirms this: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Those who are faithful to God and heaven above will find a solid footing on which to move forward.

So what are the various realities you are confronting in your life, and what turmoil threatens to shake your faith? More importantly, what will keep you anchored to deal with all that you face? Ponder that this week.

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