BY: MEGAN GILMORE
“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 (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul”
Before I even opened my eyes this hymn filled my heart and mind. For a long time, I thought nothing of waking up with a song, phrase, or words on my mind. However, over the past couple of years, I have started to realize that God was just talking to me. Now, I lean in closely and am thankful when He starts my day this way. He usually has something important to share or something I will need to hold tightly through for the rest of the day.
This morning I closed my eyes for a few seconds more to just soak in the words “It is well with my soul.” Life had been feeling very overwhelming, chaotic, stressful, and other emotions that are hard to put into words. As I began to get ready I allowed this hymn to be my anthem for the day. It is well with my soul.
Are you familiar with this hymn? Do you know the story of where it came from? It is truly an amazing story of the Holy Spirit ministering in a difficult time. Horatio Spafford and his wife, Anna, lost their son in 1871. In that same year, they experienced Chicago's great fire. He was a businessman and had lost everything. He was in financial ruin. In 1873 they had planned to go to Europe. Anne and four daughters went first across the ocean first. While crossing the Atlantic their ship collided with another ship. Sadly, Horatio lost all four of his daughters, his wife survived. Later as his ship was crossing where the accident had happened he penned the words to this hymn It is Well.
Y’all that story reminds me that no matter the circumstances God is speaking. He will speak to us and through us. It was through great loss and tragedy Horatio realized that God had him and he would be ok. I cannot help but reflect on 2020 and feel that we can also have the same posture as Horatio. God’s peace will be with us in all circumstances - if we allow the Holy Spirit in.
The more I reflected on this song it led me to meditate on the verses in James 1:2-3, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I recently had been doing a word study in the book of James and the word steadfastness stood out to me. It called to me - asked me to understand it in a new way. What I discovered was that steadfastness used here means, “patience and tranquil mind.” The mind is our battlefield and when we are in trials it is so easy for our mind to be destroyed. However, James tells us the testing of our faith develops this steadfastness. When steadfastness in its full effect we lack nothing. Horatio was an example of this. He did not allow the enemy to use all of the trails to take over his life - instead, he allowed the Holy Spirit to speak through him. The words he wrote still have an impact on us today.
I know that 2020 has been a trial. It has challenged us and pushed us to new limits, but y’all God’s peace is right there for us. This is a time for us to do as James says, “Count it all joy when we face trials.” God is at work and He is ever-present during this season.
May we cling to the words penned by Horatio...It is well with my soul!