It is Well

I was introduced to a dynamic Christian woman last night. As I visited with my mom, she mentioned Jennifer Rothschild. I had not heard of her before so after our phone conversation ended, I went to You Tube and looked her up. I sat in awe of the words this woman of God spoke. She is truly filled with God’s spirit as she shares from her heart.

Jennifer has dealt with loss in her life, just as many of us have. As I watched her story unfold I was amazed at her faith. She said something that really struck a chord with me. She said that God can make things well with our souls even when things are not well with our circumstances. I’ve mulled that thought over and over today.

What comes to mind is Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11-12. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Am I content in my circumstances? God has provided for my every need, but I want to go deeper here. I’m not talking about surface level physical needs. Yes, physical needs, food, clothing, shelter, are important, but I want to focus on more. What about a hurting soul? What about those difficulties in life that many face, the loss of a child, the loss of health, a crumbling marriage, a dead-end job? Can we learn to be content in those circumstances? Can all be well with our souls when things are not well with our circumstances?

I can’t help but recall the story behind the hymn, It is Well With My Soul. The author, Horatio Spafford, penned the words to this faith-filled hymn during a time of great loss. In 1870, his only son died of scarlet fever. In 1871 a fire ravaged through Chicago, wiping out every one of Horatio’s real-estate holdings, thus decimating his life savings. In 1873, Horatio decided that his family needed a respite from the losses and planned a family vacation. He, his wife, and their four daughters, were slated for a trip to England. Last minute business held him up so he sent his wife and daughters ahead of him with arrangements to meet them later. Nine days after he bid them farewell, Horatio received a telegram from his wife that read, “Saved Alone.” The ship they had been on collided with another and sank. All four of his daughters drowned that day.

Horatio left immediately to be with his wife. It is said that as they passed over the spot where the ship had sunk, the captain called Horatio to the deck and told him this was the place. Horatio then penned the words to that great hymn.

What faith! Although she walks in darkness, Jennifer says, “It is well with my soul.” While  facing immeasurable pain and loss, Horatio said, “It is well, with my soul.” I am challenged. As I look at my circumstances, I pray that God does a work in me so that I too can shout from the mountain top, “It is well with my soul!”

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