“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” – John 14:27
One of the most moving Christian song ever written is, “ Its well with my soul!” To hear it sung in cathedrals, concerts or at funerals, always leaves one with goose bumps. It has uplifted many through the most difficult of moments, soothing their weary spirit.
Its coming into being in many ways show how God so often uses difficult situations to bless so many.
In 1871. Horatio Spafford, was one of the wealthiest lawyers, based in Chicago. He was also a devout Christian, along with his wife Ann, and their four daughters. They attended the Presbyterian church where he was an elder. Horatio was active in the abolition crusade to end slavery and his house was a meeting place for activists like Frances E. Willard, president of the National Women's Christian Temperance Union, and evangelical leaders like Dwight Moody, who led a religious revival in America and Europe. Spafford, had invested considerably in real estate and was a generous supporter of Moody’s ministry. But early in 1871 came the Great Fire of Chicago that destroyed Spafford's sizable investment.
Devastated from the loss, Spafford, seeking to recover, two years later, decided to go for a holiday in Europe. But at the last minute he was detained by business, letting Ann and his four daughters to proceed, hoping to join them. No sooner had they left when the ship in which they were had an accident and sank within minutes. All the four children drowned, though Anna survived.
Spafford on receiving the news decided to go and pick up Ann. When he got to the spot where the ship had sunk, in his despair came the words that have brought respite to so many, through generations.
“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… Let this blest assurance control That Christ ...has regarded my helpless estate, And has shed His own blood for my soul. It is well…With my soul..
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
It is said as Annn saw her daughters going down, she said, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand.” And, indeed, “It is well with my soul” was God’s gift to all of mankind through such a tragedy.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of heaven, sometimes through tragedies, it is difficult to understand or appreciate the moment; but as the song goes, whatever the difficulty may be, “Its well with my soul” for you are with me, no matter! This I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!