“I hope I get this job,” a friend said to me. “I will give Jesus all the glory if I do.” Another friend said, “If God answers my prayer for healing, I’ll tell everyone about it and give God all the credit.” And again someone said, 23 waller“If my horse wins the triple crown, I’ll give 10% of my winnings to my church.” I have to admit that over the years I’ve made similar statements myself, have you? I think Paul wants to correct us when we let ourselves think like that. Putting together the phrases in Philippians 1:19-21 we get, “for I know that … this will turn out for my deliverance… it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” He’s not banking on certain circumstances to go his way before he praises God. He’s going to praise God no matter what, because he has a much more important certainty that an employer can’t control, an illness or injury can’t affect, or the outcome of a horse race won’t change. He is courageously confident of God’s wonderful intentions for him regardless of the circumstances.

When I was stationed aboard the Navy Destroyer USS WALLER (DD-466) back in the 60’s, I enjoyed a Mediterranean and Red Sea Cruise. I was part of the special sea and anchor detail and when we were about to tie up port side, (I remember Massawa, Ethiopia) I’d have to hustle to the forecastle and help handle the lines. The boatswain would shoot a spear gun with a thin nylon cord attached to the dock as far as forty feet out. Someone on the dock would pick it up and pull. It’s attached to a bigger rope. And it’s attached to an even bigger rope. Finally, they pull a rope which is big enough to hold the ship close to the dock. It is a very intricate process, but not unlike what is going on in this passage. The author of the Book of Hebrews says it this way in Hebrews 6:19, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”

We’re not hoping in the first line. We’re not hoping in the second line. We’re not even hoping in the third line. No, but we do trust the rope that was big enough and strong enough to hold a 4000 ton destroyer at dock. It was about 6 inches in diameter. But what was more important is that it would stretch under heavy strain instead of breaking. It wasn’t unusual to see a 6 inch rope be reduced to 3 inches in diameter at times. I’ve never seen one break! I don’t know anyone that has ever seen one break! That rope is dependable; we can count on it no matter what the circumstances.