“It is well with my soul.”
If you’ve grown up in church, you may have sung a hymn by this title. The lyrics to that hymn speak of a faith that endures through all of life’s experiences, both the good and the bad, and that looks not to the temporary but to the eternal for its hope. The words beautifully describe the Christian life as it ought to be lived, portraying the ideal we who know the Lord strive to embody.
The song, however, stems from tragedy. While I don’t know much about the life of the hymn writer, I believe Horatio Spafford penned these words in the 1800s after experiencing the loss of his children at sea. He wrote of the wellness of his soul in the midst of a bitter trial, revealing a firmness of faith that almost defies understanding. How could such a sorrowful circumstance result in such a beautiful display of worship?
We could ask Job the same question. He experienced incredible loss as well and responded with incredible faith.
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Here, again, we see a man worship through his suffering. Trials that we might expect to bring hopelessness and despair resulted in worship.
History tells stories of many who remained faithful through trials, who proved through both life and death that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). I’m not sure Horatio Spafford or Job could ever imagine how their examples, their responses, or their words would influence those who would come after them, yet their examples serve to light the way for us who follow them through this world of trials. Because their eyes were set on things above, they could worship through any trial below. And we can follow their examples in faith because we serve the same God.
Let us, then, follow them in hope, our faith growing as we observe God’s faithfulness to them. Let us count our trials as joy because we know God is sovereign and good in all seasons of life (James 1:2). Let us look up to our Lord, setting him above all earthly blessings, and say with the saints of old that it is well with our souls. And may God get the glory from it all.
Thanks to Linda L’Hoste for the suggestion for today’s blog post.