Not long ago I had the opportunity to sail on a great ship along the marvelous coast of Alaska, USA. While the captain prepared for the ship’s overnight stay in a remote pristine bay, he carefully evaluated the location and circumstances, such as the sequence of the tides, depth of the waters, and distance from dangerous obstacles. When satisfied, he dropped anchor so that the ship would remain safe and firmly anchored, allowing the passengers an opportunity to marvel at the spectacular beauty of God’s creations.
As I was looking at the coastline, I began to realize that the ship was drifting almost imperceptibly with the slightest amount of wind and underlying current. Nevertheless, the ship stayed firmly and persistently within a fixed circle defined by the length of the anchor line and the strength of the anchor.
The captain had not kept the anchor stored on the ship, ready to be lowered only if a storm should approach. No, he had anchored the vessel as a preventive measure and protected the ship from moving into unsafe waters or slowly drifting aground while passengers and crew felt safe.
As I was contemplating this scene, it occurred to me that if this wasn’t an opportunity for a parable, I had never piloted an airplane.
The purpose of an anchor is to keep a ship safe and secure at a desired location or to help control the ship during bad weather. However, to accomplish these vital purposes, just having an anchor is not enough. The anchor must be solid, dependable, and used properly at the right time and place.
Individuals and families need anchors as well.
Adversity can come as a great storm to blow us off course and threaten to cast us against the rocks. But sometimes we are also in danger when everything appears to be safe—the winds soft and the waters smooth. In fact, we can be in the greatest danger when we are drifting and movement is so slight that we scarcely notice it.
Anchors must be solid, strong, and well maintained to be ready when needed. In addition, they must be attached to a foundation capable of bearing the weight of opposing forces.
Of course, the gospel of Jesus Christ is such an anchor. It was prepared by the Creator of the universe for a divine purpose and designed to provide safety and guidance to His children.
What is the gospel, after all, besides God’s plan to redeem His children and bring them back into His presence?
Knowing that it is in the nature of all things to drift, we must firmly set our anchors on the bedrock of gospel truth. They must not be lightly lowered onto the sands of pride or barely touching the surface of our convictions.
This month we have an opportunity to hear from God’s servants in a general conference of the Church. Their words, joined with the scriptures and the promptings of the Spirit, provide a secure and steady bedrock foundation of eternal values and principles to which we can attach our anchors so we can remain steadfast and secure amid the struggles and trials of life.
The ancient prophet Helaman taught, “It is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
Life has a way of testing our anchors and tempting us to drift. Nevertheless, if our anchors are correctly placed in the rock of our Redeemer, they will hold—no matter the force of the wind, the strength of the tide, or the height of the waves.
Of course, a ship is not designed to remain stationary in a harbor but rather to raise anchor and sail the seas of life. But that is a parable for another time.
For now, I take comfort in knowing that the anchor of the gospel and the rock of our Redeemer will keep us steady and secure.
Such an anchor will keep us from drifting into danger and misfortune. It will allow us the glorious opportunity to enjoy the incomparable beauties of the ever-changing and sublime scenery of life.
Life is beautiful and worth living. Wind, storm, and prevailing currents may tempt us to drift into dangers seen or unseen, but the gospel message and its divine power will keep us on our path back to the safe harbor of our Heavenly Father.
Let us, therefore, not only listen to the talks of the April general conference but also apply their messages as a firmly set anchor to our daily lives.
May God bless and guide us in this significant and essential endeavor!