This blog follows up on the last one – our ability to bless God. Please read that one before this one.
There’s an old hymn “It is well with my soul”. It’s worth learning about the background to what led to the composition of that hymn. I believe our Father in heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ are very pleased with the heart behind that hymn. In short, the composer – Horatio G. Spafford— was a successful businessman and believer in the 1870’s in the Chicago area. He was active with efforts to help the poor and spread the word of God. But his faith was heavily tested. In 1870, his four year old son died of scarlet fever. This was devastating, enough, but then the Chicago Fire of 1871 devastated most of his buildings and businesses. But still Horatio used what money he had left to help the many homeless. Later on Horatio made plans to send his wife Anna and their four daughters to England to get away and heal up as well as to support some ministries going on in Europe. But on the way, their steamer struck an iron British vessel – and sank in the mid-Atlantic, in waters three miles deep. Only Horatio’s wife Anna was saved among his family. Only 81 of 307 passengers survived. Anna was taken to Wales, where she telegraphed her husband, “Saved alone…what should I do”?
Can you imagine? My heart is heavy just writing this! Well, Horatio immediately boarded a ship to bring his beloved Anna back home. On the way there, the captain of Horatio’s ship called him to the bridge and told him, “This is the spot where your wife’s ship went down.” That night, Horatio G. Spafford, in the quiet of his cabin…wrote the heart-stirring words to “It is well with my soul”.
Read the rest of this blog to capture the essence behind having peace in your storms, having joy when everything is falling apart, being able to bless when your fleshly nature just wants to give up.
I recommend you Google “Story behind It is Well with my Soul lyrics” and read the whole story. It is quite inspiring and you’ll be blessed for taking the time to read about it. The title of the song reminds us of the exquisite faith of the Shunamite widow, who – having lost her only son – when asked what was wrong, answered, “Everything is well.” (2 Kings 4:26). What an example. How inspiring! Your only son is dead and you say, “It is well”. Wow. Wow. What an inspiring example this woman is to all of us.
That’s what I’m talking about. I preach to myself too. So often I have to remind myself to praise and thank and bless my holy heavenly father and my Redeemer no matter what is happening. In fact, what I’m trying to get across is this: we must do this even MORE so when things are “going to hell in a hand basket” as the saying goes.
It is in the praise and thanksgiving, no matter our pain, no matter our trials, that we actually will experience greater faith. It’s in our communion at these times with our Maker when we are most likely to feel His presence, to “hear His voice” and draw closer to Him. It’s in the rough times of life when we grow the most, just like an oak tree apparently puts down roots the fastest during a storm.
Blessing God in the sunny times of our life is natural – though many of us probably forget to do even that. But blessing Yehoweh in the stormy seasons of our lives – that’s where the growth happens. Those are the times when we will grow and become deeper, more mature. So praise and thank Him especially in the hard times. It’s hard to do.
It’s also in these times when we need to have our eyes open to what others are going through. It’s in those times when we need to become a “parakletos ship” -- a ship that used to come alongside another ship that was in trouble and help those worried passengers and crew. The parakletos was a “God-send” to them. It saved their lives!
YOU be the person sent by God to help people struggling with serious trials -- and your encouraging presence (not preaching at them) will make it a lot easier for them to pray and bless Yehoweh our Father even in their sore trial. YOU – yes, your gentle presence, your strong encouraging words, and your understanding heart -- may be the catalyst that helps others continue to have faith in God and our King. YOU may be part of the reason they are able to once more bless and praise our great God.
I’ve been blessed to have friends be there for me in my rough times of life. I’ve been blessed to have a wife who has been strong as a rock to stand with her man when I was finding times hard to stand by myself. I’ve been blessed to have an older brother in California who has a heart of gold and has always been there for us in our times of need, though he himself has been in serious trials for years. I’ve been blessed with a daughter here in Florida and her husband who have in a thousand ways encouraged us when we were feeling low. And most of all – once all those people and many more-- helped us in our times of need, I was able to more clearly see my truly AMAZING BIG BROTHER YESHUA our MESSIAH who sent them to me. And that in turn helped me to start blessing my God and King again. Hallelujah! Praise Yah!
Yes, when we come together, it IS well with my soul. And fellow believers, it’s time for us to give up on the splits in the body of Christ. It’s time for us support and be there for one another – together – as one body. What a powerful body of people we could be if we would forgive one another of all the hurts in the past and just start loving and accepting each other and working together as one! And what a blessing that would be to all around us. And WE – we would be able to exalt our Father and bless His holy name as ONE. Much, much tougher times are coming. Everything I’m writing today is all about the things we’ll need to have down pat in our lives if we are to survive the coming super tough times. And a big part of that is to keep looking to God and to keep blessing Him, no matter what is happening.
Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace, he whose heart is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
When we trust someone, we have peace when that One is doing something. We don’t have to understand HOW everything will work out. We don’t have to understand WHY rough things are happening. We only have to understand with Whom we walk… and with Him, it IS well with my soul.
Here are the words to that inspired song “It is Well with my Soul”, written by Horatio Spafford. (Remember, he had just lost his four daughters at sea, he had lost his son earlier, he had lost much of his business earlier…and somehow as they sailed over the spot of the most recent disaster, and he could bless God and bless all of us with these words :)