Have you ever had a phrase or word which drives you? Maybe just a thought or a desire for a short while, or for months and years. With the arrival of the New Year, and today being my birthday, I wanted to share a few thoughts on a desire from 2017. It was not a goal I set myself, rather one which came to me during my daily readings and quiet time.
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Last year I had joined a bible study which was covering the book Wait and See by Wendy Pope. It was a wonderful book, which lead to much growth in my prayer life and bible study. Going into the bible study I had thought my main Wait and See focus was to grow my business and blog, and wait on God to show me which direction to follow. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when the true meaning behind my attending the bible study was revealed to me. While reading the chapters, an old hymn came to me. One I have loved for very long while but never quite paid attention to meaning or the history behind the song.
What was I waiting for?
I was waiting to say it is well with my soul.
After the death of my father, many things happened in my life. Hurt was prevalent in my heart and I had tucked it deep; where no one could see or touch it. I thought this was the best way to deal with my heartache and struggle. Once I did this, it was gone, right? Wrong. Quite like brushing dirt, dust, and random toys under the rug, I was finding myself continually tripping on my hidden hurdles. Anxiety was beginning to tighten its grip on me and isolate me. Sleep was a distant friend, one I longed to know again. Yet, I thought “I am fine, no reason to fuss.” Then those words “it is well with my soul” stirred me to awaken and realize I was not well at all. I was far from being able to say these words and mean them whatsoever. I opened myself up to a friend and how my desire to be able to sing the hymn with all my heart was present. She quite plainly asked me, “have you ever read where the hymn comes from or who wrote it?” No, never. So, I started researching the old hymn and wondering why it would have rested in my heart as a desire.
Horatio G. Spafford wrote the song after experiencing much hardship in his life. Not only did he experience great loss of his business in the Great Chicago fire, but he lost a son in 1871 to pneumonia. Later his wife and four daughters were traveling in November of 1873 on the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre, crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe. Four days into the voyage, the Ville du Harve collided with an iron-hulled Scottish ship, Loch Earn. Within twelve minutes, the Ville Du Harve disappeared under the Atlantic waters, with all four Spafford daughters. Mrs. Spafford was later spotted by a sailor, still alive and floating on wreckage. Once notified of the unfortunate accident, Mr. Spafford booked a passage to meet up with his grieving wife. When the ship was over the place where his children were lost, he wrote It Is Well with My Soul”.
After discovering the history behind the song, I felt my heart drop. This man and his wife had suffered much. Much had been given, much had been taken. Despite the pain in his heart, he had found the words to praise and sing. He was able to declare it is well. Beyond his own understanding, peace was given. His children and the pain were not brushed under a rug; but peace was given. I found myself in a place of awe. I too shall declare it is well. I will sing and I will praise. I will find peace beyond understanding.
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
Anna Spafford gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem, where Mr. Spafford was buried.
As the year passed, I felt my heart and soul heal. I knew every day spent in thankfulness was bringing me closer to the coveted words “It is Well”. Now, as 2018 has arrived, I can whole heartedly sing, it is well with my soul! I am grateful God loved me enough to bring the bump out from underneath the rug. He loved me enough to make me face the hurt, the pain, the hidden ache. He loved me enough to know I could not handle it on my own and needed this man’s story and words to drive me to healing.
I do not know why terrible things happen. I do know when you are ready there is always healing. Whether it be divorce, death, loss, discouragement, or other forms of pain; there is healing waiting.
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7.
A fellow woman gifted this to me, not knowing the meaning behind these words for my year of struggle to sing this hymnal.
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