“Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”
– Hebrews 6:16-20
One of my favorite movies of all time is The Shawshank Redemption. Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, the film portrays the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who spends nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife. During his time at the prison, he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis “Red” Redding, and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money laundering operation. Andy eventually rebels against the warden and is sent to the “hole.” The hole is a place of solitary confinement. One week spent in the hole seems like a lifetime. One scene in the movie shows Andy, having just been released from the hole, sitting down in the mess hall with “Old Red” and some of his other prison buddies. He tries to explain to them that being in the hole was no big deal because of what he had on the inside. “What I have on the inside, they cannot touch!” Old Red looks confused and says, “What do you mean?” Andy explains that what he has on the inside is hope!
Hope is the anchor that believers cling to during the storms of life. Believers are the only people in this world who have any reason to have hope. The reason is because we are the “heirs of what [is] promised.” We are the heirs to all that is promised in the Bible. According to the Bible, those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ have an incredible future in store for them, a future that is really beyond description. When Paul tried to describe heaven in 2 Corinthians 12, he wrote, “And I know that this man was caught up to paradise…and he heard things that cannot be told…” Paul was the man who had been caught up to Paradise (Acts 14:19), and he could not describe what he saw because it was so incredible. Similarly, when John was caught up to heaven, he had a difficult time describing it. Rather than writing what will be in heaven, John wrote what will be no more. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
We believers have this hope that serves as the anchor for our soul. This hope gives us the strength to press on through the storms of life. This hope is not based on flimsy promises but on the promise of God. God has given us His Word, His oath! Do you need hope? What are you clinging to for your hope? Jesus is the only hope for the world. He is our hope and He is our anchor!
In the movie, Andy Defresne finally escapes from Shawshank after digging a hole in his cell that led to a sewage pipe through which he crawled over 500 yards. It was his hope that gave him the strength to press on. He then escaped to a beautiful beach in Zihuatanejo, Mexico that overlooks the blue Pacific Ocean. He hoped that one day his friend, Red, would join him. He told Red that if he ever got out of prison to go to a specific hayfield outside the town of Buxton. When Red finally receives parole after serving 40 years, he decides to follow Andy’s advice and visits Buxton. In the hayfield specified by Andy, he finds a cache of money and a note left by Andy, reminding him of Zihuatanejo. In that note, Andy had written these words: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe it’s the best thing. And no good thing ever dies.”
Red purchases a bus ticket and heads for Zihuatanejo. As he nears his destination, he says to himself, “I find I’m so excited I can barely sit or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope I can see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it is in my dreams. I hope.”
I hope! Can you say, “I hope?” Like Red, we are free men. Christ has set us free. Like Red, we are in a long journey that will soon be over. Our journey ends in paradise. We should feel excitement, but in a different manner than Red. His future was not certain. Our future is! God has confirmed it with an oath, His Word. Jesus has gone before us. He has paid the price. All we have to do is cling to Him. Remember, He is our anchor. He is our hope! I have hope! Do you?