Sunday, August 8, 2010

Is it really well?

Over the past few weeks at church, we have been embracing the wonderful hymn 'It Is Well With My Soul'. Written in response to the tragic death of Horatio Spafford's four daughters at sea, the hymn is one filled with power and might. To sail past the location where his pride and joy breathed their last breaths and to be able to pen such powerful lyrics demonstrates a faith in none other than God.

I have always found this hymn overwhelming to sing and find a peace whilst singing it. If a man who has lost everything can rise up from the dust and proclaim 'Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul', we are surely able to hand over our petty worries to God. However, I find that this is often much easier said than done. I know that if I do hand over my problems and I praise God through every season, that my life will be better for it, yet I still manage to hold onto them. This said, the more that I experience life and what it brings, I am slowly but surely finding the strength to proclaim that 'it is well'. Sometimes I find it really hard to believe that it really is well. How can it be well when people are hurting, people and dying and people are aching? It can be well because God has given us an eternity of perfection to look forward to! He has restored our relationship with Him, through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and he will carry us through any storm, no matter how high the seas may roll.

Singing this hymn for the past few weeks at church has been challenging me to put my life in perspective, to realise that it really is well. In light of recent events, I believe that God was preparing me to be able to say that it is well. Whatever my lot, I am more freely able to proclaim that it is well, and not despair at what is occurring. Whilst there may be pain for a time, or for the rest of my lifetime, it is ultimately God who will prevail in these situations. If Horatio can lose everything he knew, yet proclaim the name of Christ and his undying faith in him, then surely I can too. It is by the grace of God that I may have this I don't want to waste it! Even if it seems that it may not be well, take a closer look (or a look from further back!) and realise that it is well. It is well.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, 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.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

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.

Horatio Spafford