Horatio Spafford loses a son, nearly every real estate investment in the Great Chicago Fire, and his four daughters whose ship collided with another and sunk.
On his own journey over the same waters to comfort his surviving wife, he pens the now-famous words It Is Well With My Soul. Listen to what came out of him when he was crushed beyond anything we could imagine:
“When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”
I’d be too busy lashing out or losing my mind to write those words. He rides the waves before the insanity takes him over and becomes a bulwark for those who would experience suffering after him.
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way…”
I think pain needs a who more than a why..
You’re either coming out of a storm, or heading into one. I suppose everyone sailing back to land would tell you the same thing:
Good weather is the time to prepare the boat for the storm.
If pain needs a who, then that Who must be an anchor beyond this life. Horatio had one and didn’t know he really needed him until those he loved travelled beyond the veil. His hope was not in an abstract concept of a God somewhere out there, it was in the PERSON of God himself.
He cried out to him and held on for dear life.
He was Ok when NOTHING was Ok. Was he delusional or dealing with a reality we can’t imagine?
Pain has a way of peeling back the layers of what you think you know about this life. Our ridiculous confidence and pride show little restraint in the day to day of our egos. My goodness! We don’t even see ourselves as we really are, oh but let us fix your life for you! Oh but let us convince God how great we are and how everyone else is out to get us!
We line up all our reasonings and fortify what we believe about our own relationship with God. THAT might not be ok for other people, but let me tell you how sure I am that I’m right about how I behave! We flaunt ourselves and sell our own minds on our own rightness.
Until the hammer falls.
In one moment of time you will cover your ears and do what I have done.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God….NO!!! This can’t be happening!” (Repeat ad nauseam)
You can practice this in good weather but walking around holding your head and begging for God to save you with words you can’t even get out isn’t very attractive, but certainly has a way of sticking a knife in your ego.
So what advice do I have for you? I’m at a bit of a loss for something specific because I haven’t been in your storm and all I can say is it will be touch and go whether you make it or not. There are a thousand ways you’re going to go down and stay down when it all comes apart and not an ounce of your own strength will save you.
You must go down I think. Down to the place where we, at the end, lift our eyes to heaven and say “Here I am God. Do as you see fit. I deserve no better. It is well.”
If you are young and sneer at this weak confession…
Your time will come. Ready your boat in good times because everything you think you are will be torn from you a piece at a time until you stand naked before God and hate what you really are.
How can you be ok when it’s not ok?
Seek the Anchor beyond the storm. It is our God and nothing else.
Because there won’t be anything else.
Want to watch the message? A woman loses her son in an account in the Bible and is able to say “It is well”