Much of my life I don't feel comfortable writing about on my blog. Not because I have problems being authentic or real. Not because I haven't done much introspection or self-examination. And certainly not because I don't care. And, most certainly not because I do not understand a sense of community care. Life, lately, has been a bit turbulent.
Have you heard the song, "It is Well with My Soul," written by Horatio Spafford? Here's Wintley Phipps singing the song.
Here are the words to the song:
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.
(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
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.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to 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.
Are you thinking: "That's a nice song, but I need some context." I understand if you're not moved and sobbing. Yet.
Spafford's life is a real life, modern account of Job. Horatio Spafford lived from 1828 to 1888. He was a prominent lawyer in Chicago, with a lot of real estate investments, who lived comfortably with his wife and their four young children. Their only son died in 1871 at the age of four. Then later that year was the Great Chicago Fire of October of 1871. The fire that devastated the city destroyed nearly everything Spafford and his family owned. Those two tragedies weren't the only ones the family endured.
A mere two years later, in 1873, Horatio sent his wife and four daughters ahead by ship to Europe, while he stood behind to take care of some business. On November 21, 1873, the ship S.S. Ville de Havre had a collision with a British iron sailing ship; sinking the ship and taking the lives of his four children (Annie - 11 yrs old, Maggie - 9 yrs old, Bessie - 5 yrs old, and Tanetta - 2 yrs old) along with many others. His wife was the only one in his family to survive that accident. Anna and Horatio had three more children: Horatio, Bertha, and Grace. Little Horatio died at the age of 4 of pneumonia. Horatio Spafford died of malaria on October 16, 1888.
Horatio Spafford wrote the words to "It is Well with My Soul" while on a ship, passing over the area where his four daughters had drowned.
Wrap your minds around that folks. Losing six children and loads of wealth and all the while praising the Lord. All kinds of misunderstandings are out there about being a Christian, I wouldn't even know where to begin. But being a Christian who continues to mature in faith and in relationship with the Lord isn't easy, especially in a world that mocks and snickers at Christians and in a world that is extremely rough and cruel. Life here on earth isn't the end; and you've been thinking this is all there is, you are gravely mistaken. Better to believe in Christ as Lord and Savior in this life here and in the life here after. This isn't just about "feeling good." I hate all the propaganda about short-term hedonism, because I believe that's a sell out. But being a Christian - a follower or disciple of Jesus - is about that which is truly good. The only goodness there is.
I think Horatio Spafford's writings and his life (he and his wife, some years after the ship sinking tragedy, moved to Jerusalem and set up the American Colony where they reached out to the poor, regardless of religious affiliation - running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages, and other charitable organizations) are reminders of life's tumultuous circumstances, Christ's sacrifice and love for us and how we are to regard Christ. I am continually trying to change or modify how I live my life - whether it's spending more time with Him through prayer or reading or reaching out to others - in hopes that I grow closer to Him and that people can see a glimpse of Him through my character, who I am, or interacting with me.