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Friday, April 24, 2020


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort."
2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Most of us are familiar with the hymn, "It Is Well with My Soul."  I love it, not only for its beautiful message but because of the history behind it.  It was written by Horatio Gates Spafford. Horatio and his wife lived in Chicago with their five children. He always maintained his faith despite financial success.  He was a businessman who lost almost all of his sizable investments in the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871.  At about that same time,  his four years old son died of scarlet fever.

Two years later, in 1873, after he had lost his business, Spafford was advised by his doctor to take a rest.  And then to make things worse, a little while after that, his wife had health problems due to the loss of their son.  He planned a trip for her to help her emotionally. He was going to take his family to England, but due to unexpected, last-minute business, he had to remain in Chicago and sent his wife and their four daughters ahead of him.  His family sailed on a French steamer without him.  The ship sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when it was struck by the Loch Earn, an iron sailing vessel.  He lost his four daughters, all of his family except for his wife, Anna Spafford.  What a tragedy!

It is believed that he wrote a poem shortly after that as an expression of his faith in God.  The poem began with the following 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, with my soul."

Three years later, in 1876, Spafford gave the poem to Ira David Sankey.

The song, "It Is Well with My Soul" is a beautiful and moving song that gives us hope amid life's fiery trials and reminds us also that God will redeem our souls from the power of the grave and receive us into His heavenly portals.  Let us consider the hope that we have as an anchor of our soul.  An anchor that reassures us of our hope and that helps us to say with confidence,

“It Is Well with My Soul.”


"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."

The first stanza of the poem describes the peace that God extends to us like a river amid our fiery trials (Isa. 66:12).  Those who trust in God can have the peace that keeps their souls when sorrows and anxiety come our way.  God does not want us to be anxious about anything.  He wants us to make known our needs by supplication and prayer to Him with thanksgiving.  He has promised to give us His peace and to guard our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:6-7).   We must believe that His peace is available to us when sorrows cause us anxiety and despair!   We must learn to be content whatever our lot, knowing that God is with us all the way.  He has promised not to leave us nor forsake us.  We can assuredly say,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"  (Heb. 13:5-6).


"Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul."

The second stanza gives us the assurance of redemption in our time of trials.  Although Satan might buffet us through the fiery trials of life, God's faithful children, those whose hearts are right with Him, can rest assured that God cares and is aware of what is happening to us.  As faithful Christians, we must rejoice and be glad, for we are sharing in Christ's sufferings (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Thus, "we can draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water"  (Hebrews 10:22).  Our full assurance is based on Christ's own blood that was shed for us.
"For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt. 26:28).


"My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His (or the) cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

The third stanza describes the forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood.  Since we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, we need the blood of Jesus to redeem us (Romans 3:23).  Jesus, our Lord, bore our sins when He gave His body on the tree as a sacrifice for us that through Him we might be forgiven of our sins and rise up in newness of life to righteousness.
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

Thus, through His precious blood, we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Eph. 1:7).


"For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain (or pang) shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul."

The fourth stanza (not in HFWR) declares that we have life in Christ, and He lives in us.  Since we have been crucified with Christ in the waters of baptism, we must cease the practice of sin, for He lives in us.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"  (Gal. 2:20).

In our stanza, "Jordan" symbolizes the time of death (Heb. 9:27).  As those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, we must magnify, honor the Lord both in life and death (Phil. 1:20).


"But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul."

The fifth stanza (also not in HFWR) tells us that we have a goal to press on toward and that we must patiently wait for the Lord's coming (1 Thess. 1:9-10).  This promise should motivate us to keep ourselves pressing on toward our goal, our prize.
"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).

Thus, we must look forward to hearing His voice (John 5:28-29).


"And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul."

The sixth stanza speaks of our expectation that Christ will come as He has promised.  We don't know, and we are not told when that day will be, but we do know that someday the trumpet will sound.  Then the Lord, as He has promised, will descend in the same way as He went to heaven (Acts 1:11).
"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
 "And said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'" (Acts 1:11).

Thus we must live faithfully and live with this expectation, eagerly waiting for His coming.
 "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).


Maybe, you and I have not lost our children, but some have. Tragedies like this often rob us of our peace. It may be debilitating health, death, significant financial losses, rebellious children, unbearable conflicts in our marriage, brethren or many other things that are  thrown our way to rob us of our peace.  The list may be extensive, but we must remember to turn our hearts toward the Lord, as Horatio did, to find true peace.  Divine peace that surpasses our terrible circumstances in life, and that so often passes our own understanding!
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"  (Philippians 4:7).  

Divine peace can only be found in God.  He has told us how to think.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you"  (Philippians 4:8-9).  

Jesus, our Lord, puts tranquility in our hearts, no matter our circumstances, no matter the severe storms in our lives that rage furiously all around us.  Trusting in Him will not only lead us to perfect, divine peace, but also to an abundant thankfulnessIt will help us to learn more about the greatness of our Lord God Almighty.

This beautiful song expresses in the chorus the well being of the soul who trusts in the Lord.

It is well (it is well),
With my soul (with my soul),
It is well,
It is well with my soul.

This song gives us hope in heaven.  We have an anchor of hope, that reassures us, and that will help us to say with confidence,
“It Is Well with My Soul.”

"So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek"  (Hebrews 6:13-20).

Whether difficult or not, may our circumstances not rob us or keep us from holding fast and drawing nearer to our Father in heaven.  He is our everlasting hope.  In Him, we have that peace like a river that attendeth our way!


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