Written by Lawrence Chewning performed by Ray Boltz
I have journeyed
Through the long dark night
Out on the open sea
By faith alone
And yet His eyes were watching me
The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm
I’ve had visions
I’ve had dreams
I’ve even held them in my hand
But I never knew
They would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand
I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty these eyes have seen
But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh that’s where God proved His love to me
28 years on today and the anchor holds. He has shown the light around me and this is a trustworthy saying that Christ came to save sinners of whom I am the worst. Thank God for grace, I am what I am. For twenty and eight years, the Lord has done me nothing but good. I am happy today to reflect on my journey to the kingdom.
As I think of my journey this far, the words of this song are on my lips and here is a brief story behind this song.
This song has been popularized by Ray Bolz but was written by Lawrence Chewining and here is the inspiring background. The story behind the writing of this song begins in 1992 when Lawrence and his wife experienced what they called their year of sorrows.
Lawrence’s father died that year, and as a family they were facing health problems. Lawrence had come to a point of burnout from being in pastoral ministry for 19 years, and the church that he had helped plant was entering the first phases of what became a devastating split. Lawrence who was a pastor was also re-evaluating the focus of his calling. He was weary and discouraged.
Then, in the summer of ’92, Lawrence’s wife experienced her third miscarriage. They wept as they held the tiny 14-week fetus of their son in their hands. It truly felt as if their visions and dreams had “slipped right through like they were only grains of sand”. It seemed as if the best years were over.
That year, Lawrence was given a sabbatical from pastoring for six months. During that time, his wife and him grieved and prayed. Pastor Lawrence also began to play the piano again for hours at a time, alone with God. During this time of sadness and uncertainty, the Holy Spirit gave him a song which he entitled “The Anchor Holds”. As he would sing it, he began to experience God’s comfort, encouragement and hope. Eventually, fresh vision came and Lawrence entered a new phase of the calling on his life.
In the spring of 1993, Lawrence’s old friend Ray Boltz heard about the song during a time of sharing together after one of his concerts in Maine. A few months later, Ray called Lawrence and expressed interest in possibly recording it. Lawrence immediately sent the song to him “in the rough” and told him that he was free to adapt it for his purposes. Ray reworked some of the lyrics, shortened it a bit, and added a musical bridge and recorded it for his “Allegiance” project. It was released for national airplay in November 1994.
The response to this song has truly been overwhelming. “I am so grateful that God can take our broken pieces and make something of value out of them. I am also thankful Ray Boltz who saw the potential of this song and utilized it for God’s glory” said Lawrence in his testimony.
As I look back on my own walk with the Lord the last 28years, I find myself singing the same words. The anchor holds. This indeed for me is from a heart that has known what it really meant to be saved; to be delivered from peril by the hand of God. Like the Psalmist I express my praise and gratitude to God. While there is much to digest in Psalm 116, I have chosen for today to focus on a question raised in verse 12. “What shall I render unto Jehovah for all His benefits toward me?” Indeed we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. (Heb 6:19). My anchor holds is a comforting truth, in any difficulty. However, the greater the storm, the more you appreciate an anchor that is completely steadfast. Perhaps that is why I’ve made it to date.
Thank you for all who have upheld me and my family in prayer over the years. Much thanks to Enid for walking the valleys and mountains with me. The anchor holds, though the ship is battered.
For that reason I will echo Psalm 116 as my tribute to the Lord. “I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted: I said in my haste, All men are liars. What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people, In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.”
(Psalms 116:1-19, KJV