A reason to get out of bed every day of your life!

All is well…

Horatio Spafford wrote this poem, turned hymn in 1873, after a string of painful life experiences.  He had lost one son at age four.  Then was financially ruined from a successful business he had built from the ground up in the great Chicago fire.  His family was going to Europe, and he ended up in the last days staying behind to tend to zoning issues following rebuilding his business in Chicago.  His family’s ship sank after striking a sailing ship.  All four of his daughters were lost, only his wife survived.  Her telegram sent was “Saved alone.”

He set sail to join his grieving wife and as they passed near the ship’s sinking, he wrote this famous Hymn clung to by saints and sinners alike in times of suffering and loss.  They went on to have three more children, one more of whom died in infancy.  The Spaffords moved to Jerusalem in 1881.  There they helped begin what was known as the American Colony….a community called to serve the poor.  They were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In today’s world, the western affluent world where technology does so much for society, we have become accustomed to solving most problems.  Ever watch Star Trek… all is possible in a cultural mantra and more.  Yet, in life, this is not the case and this reality has ruined many a fragile shallow faith in the Living God.  Life does and will bring hurt, loss, pain, suffering, injustice, and injustice.  There is no avoiding it.  Ever met a leader who has not faced such a time(s)?  They are confident, arrogant and proud.  Ever meet a person shaped by such losses?  They are humble, dependent upon the Lord and know their temporal state not long for this world.

Wrongly, our churches today preach a health and welfare Gospel that says “Trust the Lord and it will all be right, He WILL bless you and make life easy and smooth and it will all work out.”  When this proverbial wisdom taken out of contexts does not universally prove true and real loss and pain come, faith is shattered and lost for so many.  This is sad.

The equation is not always solved.  Multiple choice and the freedom to re-choose again not always accurate.  There is an unexplainable reality for us in life – that we must walk in the dark, hold His hand and trust, even when we fall down, even when we do not understand, when it is unjust, when it doesn’t work out, when it is not comfortable, not understood, not rescued, no good answer, but lasting loss and grief.  Then and only then is it a real faith, a true confidence.

Our world is chaotic, as the news yesterday of the school shooting claiming at least two lives – the result of bullying – testifies, as well as the insanity of Afghanistan and Syria.  This is the constant: chaos and a fallen world for now….

Until He returns and sets the creation and lives back on the straight, laying hills low and valleys level, we must really hold on, not in cheap shallow trite pithy claims, but a gut hardened faith that weathers all storms unconditionally.  I wish not testing of the metal for anyone, yet when found in such hard and dark seasons, may we be found not wanting and proved true and faithful servants.

Recall the saints in the hard places where reality is harder for one’s faith, even unto death.  Expecting all is well is not accurate with what we are promised by our Lord.  May we set our feet on the rock and stand stalwart.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know***,
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!
Blessed hope, blessed 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

***Horatio penned “know” at the end of line three, but most recordings and printings have “say”.  I have chosen “know”, his intent and that the Biblical truth.

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