Horatio Spafford and his wife Anna have been on my mind today. The inspiration of his penning of the song “It Is Well With My Soul,” is heartbreakingly unfathomable. First the death of their son, then financial disaster, then the deaths of their four daughters in a ship wreck. He is said to have penned the song while looking over the location where the ship went down.
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
Having four daughters, and now having had to part with one for a time, I can’t bear to entertain the thought of the agony of parting with all four. Though I know their pain only in part, the truth of the lyrics of his song still resonate deeply within me. We have learned over the past eleven days the painful truth that sorrows do indeed roll like sea billows. Like Horatio and Anna, we entrust all to God, and whatever He chooses to allow “is well with our souls.” Our faith is sure and certain, anchored securely on the unshakable Rock. However, having our foundation as The Rock does not prevent the waves from crashing down upon us, but, praise be to God it does prevent us from being swept away.
“By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples.” Psalm 65:5-7 [NASB]
Brother Jimmy Jackson made reference in Sarah’s memorial service to waves of grief. He shared how just as the waves of the ocean roll in, so will the grief. Sometimes you are looking up and see them coming so you can keep your balance a little better, but other times they come from behind and knock you down. Today is one of the latter days. A tidal wave of sorrow hit me as soon as my eyes opened this morning. Thoughts of the many ways I am already missing her flooded my mind along with the staunch realization that I am going to continue to be bombarded daily by new ways I miss her. Each agonizing realization is another wave and a challenge to stand or fall.
” I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3 [NASB]
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25 [NASB]
So today I cling to His many rich promises that He will keep us from slipping, stumbling, falling or being swept away. Brother Jimmy said the waves will gradually spread further and further apart over time, I will trust him on that and look forward to longer reprieves between them in the future. In between the waves I can testify to sensing the peace like a river and I look forward to the time when those times are greater and the waves are less. Until then we covet your prayers as we stand together as a family securely anchored to The Rock that is Higher than Us.
“From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 [NASB]