We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
These words penned by Horatio Spafford around 1873 were prompted by great tragedy. A wealthy Chicago lawyer, Spafford had extensive real estate investments in the Chicago area. The Great Chicago fires of 1871 destroyed most of Spafford’s property. The family spent the next two years helping refugees of the fire. In 1873, Spafford, his wife and four daughters planned to visit friends in Europe, but at the last minute Spafford was detained on business. His wife and daughters continued on, sailing aboard the steamship Ville du Havre. The steamship was struck by another vessel mid-ocean and sank in minutes with only 27 passengers surviving, Spafford’s wife being one of them. The story continues that Spafford set sail to join his grieving wife and upon reaching the spot where the ship sank claiming the lives of his daughters, he penned the words to the song “It Is Well with My Soul.”
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
Is it well with your soul?
Are you able to sail past the heartache, the triumph, and the times of uncertainty and have peace knowing God has your soul? We often talk about Peter’s faith to step out of the boat in Matthew 14, but marvel at him being distracted by the wind which caused him to begin sinking. Trusting God requires a fixed gaze on Him. The circumstances of life can easily distract and leave us sinking in a sea of doubt, misery, or our own sense of control.
That friendship you thought might lead to something more, but ended in an abrupt spew of messiness, does not define the condition of your soul. The job that began with such promise, but has turned into a cesspool of uncertainty, does not direct the course of your soul. Your health, physical and financial, do not provide the peace necessary to steady your course (although that one university might help you to be a good steward of your finances).
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
Living by faith requires, by definition, that we don’t always get to know the outcome of our steps. It’s difficult when you think “God, I’m going to bust from a heart so full and ready to love another, where is he already!?!” Or “God, why give me these talents and desires to be used, when every door seems to close. Where do I turn?” Or “God, why did you allow my daughters to drown?” One day our faith will be sight, and we will get a glimpse of God’s perspective and the overarching plan He had for our lives. Until then, we have the words of Hebrews 12 to encourage us…
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)
It IS well with my soul!