Thursday, November 15, 2012

It is Well

Because I need something to smile about...Meres first pigtails
You all know I've said before that my Pandora dial is set to Beach Boys, Motown, and Leahy. And for minor heartache-that is just the ticket.

But for the gut wrenching grief, the old hymns are what speak to me.

Just like Motown and Beach Boys, hymns are written about life experience. But, hymns point you to God.

Real people wrote these hymns. Their lives weren't black and white, neat and tidy. They weren't perfect. They were sinners saved by grace.They went through deep, deep waters. And God met them there.

We blog our pain. We Facebook our pain. We tweet our pain. They did the next best thing. They wrote hymns.

Their hymns are written out of heart ache and pain. And when you know the back story to the hymns, it makes them even more pertinent.

God showed Himself faithful to these Christians. He was their rock and anchor. He is unchanging, and He is my rock. My anchor.

pigtails exponentially increase the mischief factor

A common funeral hymn is It Is Well with My Soul. This hymn was written by Horatio Spafford. Maybe you have heard his story, maybe you haven't.

Mr. and Mrs. Spafford lived in the 1800s. They were wealthy, affluent and important. They were high society in Chicago. Rubbing shoulders with the who's-who of those days. Lawyer and landowner. They had 5 beautiful children-4 girls and 1 boy. They had it all.

While very young, their son got sick and died.

Within a year or two, the Chicago fire blazed and ate up their material wealth.

Finding nothing to hold them here, the Spaffords decided to join their good friend, Dwight Moody on a gospel campaign in London. Business came up which needed Mr. Spafford's attention, so he sent his wife and girls on to England alone.

Their boat collided with another vessel, and sank. All four daughters drowned. They had it all, and lost it all.

As Mr. Spafford sailed over the ocean to rejoin his wife, he passed by the place the ship had sunk. And this is what he wrote...

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.

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.

One thing I learned about rivers when I cooked up at camp, is that the surface can be glassy beautiful, but there are depths of currents moving beneath.

Peace doesn't mean everything is all right. Peace doesn't mean we aren't sorrowing. Peace isn't a pretense. 

It is a rest and confidence that God is in control even in horrific circumstances. It is a knowledge that God is working for our good and His glory. It is knowing that the Prince of Peace, the Sovereign of the Universe is in control even when we can't see beyond our heartache. It is the calm and the currents.

Horatio Spafford and his wife went on to have 3 more children-one of whom died in infancy. They became missionaries in Jerusalem, where they ended up dying in the early 1880s. Life didn't magically become easy because he wrote this hymn. 

But, how many lives have been comforted and strengthened because of the sorrows like sea billows that they experienced? Because he trusted God, and let God use his sorrow?

seems so trite now, but this is my brand new $0.69 jacket! Love it!

How about this precious hymn? You can guess at the buffeting this man is going through while writing...

Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest-driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.

And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.

Mighty tides about me sweep,
Perils lurk within the deep,
Angry clouds o’ershade the sky,
And the tempest rises high;
Still I stand the tempest’s shock,
For my anchor grips the rock.

I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Through the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide.

Troubles almost ’whelm the soul;
Griefs like billows o’er me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I’ve an anchor that shall hold.

I don't know what God's plan is, for this situation, this time in my life. But, again, I am resting. I am learning experientially to say...

"It is well with my soul."