Hope Rising

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It is Well with My Soul...

A few months ago, I took one of my regular walks at the local beach.  I've lived near this beach all my life, and I had never seen it in the state it was in that day.  As I walked down the steps from the pavilion, I realized that the ocean was extremely rough.  Then I saw the waves crashing over and over each other...so relentlessly that the tide was coming up to within 50 feet of the pavilion and pouring into the sea grass.   I watched the waves as they toppled over each other-each larger than the last-each pushing the tide closer and closer to areas that would usually not be touched by the waves.  It reminded me of the line, "When sorrows like sea billows roll..." from the hymn It is Well With My Soul (by Horatio Spafford), and of a time in my life when I felt that sorrow.

On the day I stood before a judge and he pronounced my marriage over,  I stood alone, a fitting picture of how I felt.  I slowly walked out of the courtroom, got in the elevator, and was amazed to find that everyone was still scurrying around, going on with their business.

My life had just changed forever, but I was vaguely aware that it would somehow go on.  I drove to a  dock near the courthouse.  Something about being near water always calms me.  As I walked down the long boardwalk, I asked God to forgive me for any contribution that I had made to the demise of my marriage.  As I spoke those words of repentance, that same old hymn just swept over my soul:

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

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

And Lord, haste the day when my 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.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

As I go through different difficulties in my life, even as recently as last week, God brings this hymn to mind...it seems to play constantly in the background of my life.  Ultimately, to know that it is well with MY soul is the only thing within my control.  God is sovereign, and has given me a free will, so what I will do is make sure that my actions and my reactions are in tune with what He wants. I will make sure that I'm placing my trust only in Him, and be faithful.  

Then I can say, no matter what I face: "Even so, it is well with my soul!"


  1. wondering if you've heard Sara Groves' version of this hymn? it has made it come alive to me in a new way recently.

  2. I haven't--I will definitely find it, though. I enjoy her a lot.