March 31

March 31
by Pastor Judy
It Is Well with my Soul
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.   Psalm 46:1-6a
Many of you know the hymn, “It is well with my soul,” and some know the backstory.  For those who don’t, I’d like to tell you that story and share with you that hymn.
Horatio Spafford was a man of wealth and property. But in 1871 the Great Fire in Chicago destroyed his property. It was the same year that his little boy (and only son at the time) died of pneumonia.
Two years later he and his wife and four daughters planned to get away from it all, traveling by ship to England.  But at the last minute Spafford had to stay behind to tend to business, promising Anna (his wife) to follow them on the next ship.
But four days later he received a telegram from Anna from Wales.  Her ship had gone down at sea.  Her message: “I alone am saved.”  The four girls were no more.
Spafford got on the next ship, and when they reached the place where his children lost their lives, the captain called him up to his quarters to tell him so.  Spafford returned to his cabin and penned these words: “When peace, like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows, like sea billows, roll; whatever my lot thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well; it is well with my soul.’”
Think of it: peace, like a smooth, flowing river, often attends our days.  That’s when all is going well; we are happy.  It is easy to praise God during those days.  But “when sorrows, like sea billows, roll,” it is not so easy.  Fears, doubts, sadness just keep rolling over you like ocean waves.  How does one praise God in those circumstances?
Spafford, a man whose faith was anchored securely in Scripture, said, “Either way, it is well with my soul.  In good times and in bad, my soul (my entire being) is in a good place, because “Christ has regarded my helpless estate and has shed his own blood for my soul!”
Today, some of us are discouraged, bored, ready to be done with “sheltering in place.”  That’s me — more or less peaceful, not too bothered.  But others are tossed about in the turbulence of fear and sadness: loss of jobs, friends and family members hospitalized on respiratory assistance, exposed to the virus and now quarantined.  Some face the specter of death. My heart breaks for those suffering from such difficulties.
But – either way — for those who trust in Christ, there is no need to be pulled under by those waves.  Your sins are forgiven. Your life is secure in Christ. This world only lasts for a season.  Someday, “the trumpet shall sound and the Lord shall descend.  Even so, it is well with my soul!”
Take a moment to listen to this extraordinary hymn.  Give your concerns and fears over to God.  He knows.  He has you in his hands.  And – praise God! – it is well with your soul.

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