This song brings me to tears every time. This is why...
"When peace like a river attendeth my way..."
My life recently has been very good- full of peace and tranquility. We are in a place that we love. Our kids are thriving. My husband is able to use his gifts and abilities for the glory of God. I am surrounded by growing friendships. Our church family is incredible- they show love to us, they are patient with my children, they respect and value my husband.
"...when sorrows like sea billows roll..."
But it hasn't all been perfect. My heart aches with the steady loss of my Daddy, with the daily grief that my mama has to deal with. Watching a loved one slowly slip away from you is much like the waves of the sea- new grief that piles on top of another. And there is no solution. There is no fixing this. There is only acceptance as each new wave crashes over our heads.
"...whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul!"
I sang these words with my family from my earliest memories. I would echo with the harmony "it is well" and I know that I meant it. I grew up in a happy home, surrounded by loving family. And all was well. But as I have gained some life experience, I have come to realize that being able to say "It is well, it is well, with my soul" is not a simple thing. Rather, it is something that God patiently and faithfully teaches us on this journey that we are on. He takes us through difficulty to teach us. He promises to be with us, so that when we go through trials, we are not overwhelmed. When we go through difficulty and we make a decision to rely on God, we learn this and then have the ability to say "whatever my lot"!
"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, oh, my soul!"
It IS a glorious thought! Oh, I have made so many mistakes. I have hurt others through my words and my actions. I have been selfish and proud, unkind and unloving. I have been lazy. I have allowed my anger to affect my responses. I have yelled at my kids. But... Jesus doesn't look at my many sins and pick and choose which ones He wants to forgive. NO! He died to save me from all of my sins, not just some of them. And I don't have to bear the guilt any longer! Praise the Lord!
"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."
And this is where the tears set in. Because I picture those clouds rolling back, I hear that trumpet and the thought of seeing the Lord? Oh, I cannot wait! To have all of the pain of this life, the hurts, the sorrows, the disappointments, the mourning all be washed away in a moment. To have no more suffering, no more loss of memory, no more babies dying, or young girls being sold into slavery- to no longer have longings unfulfilled, or a bitter or resentful heart? Now that is something to look forward to and to place our hope in.
But we are not there yet. So, how do we say "it is well with my soul" now? When we are still surrounded by overwhelming sorrow? Being able to say "It is well" is not the result of an absence of pain and suffering. Rather it is an understanding that this life is not all that there is. When we trust in Jesus, we have a future hope that is guaranteed. And people who have a future hope will live more effectively in the present.
"It is well (it is well)
with my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul".