It is well…

Life is struggle. If you find yourself struggling today, you are in good company. The joy of life is found in between struggles and, oftentimes, in one’s perspective in the struggle. Take the story of Horatio Spafford. Horatio was a prominent Chicago lawyer and abolishionist. In 1870 he lost his 4 year old son to pneumonia. The next year the famous Chicago fire nearly ruined him financially. In 1873 he decided the family needed a vacation and went big. He would take them to England but as so often happens, work got in the way. At the last minute he sends his wife and 4 daughters on ahead planning to join them asap.

The steamship Ville du Havre, on which his loved ones traveled, would strike another ship in the middle of night and sink in a mere twelve minutes. His wife was his family’s sole survivor. Grief stricken upon hearing the news, Horatio immediately left to join his wife in Wales. When his ship passed over the spot where his daughters had died, the captain told him so. As the story goes he began to compose the hymn for which he is now known, It Is Well With My Soul. Amazing to think a grieving heart could be so full of hope to write such words. Amazing.

My head,upon reading these words, transported me back to 1979 and a gravesite outside Dayton, Ohio where I gathered with nearly my entire Sammy Morris Dorm brothers and mourned the loss of our friend, Jimmy Wheeler. Jimmy lived in the room next to Barry and me. He was the leader of our “Brotherhood” as the floor was called and still is. Full of life the year before and then gone in six months from colon cancer. I can still remember standing and singing that cold, damp day in 1979. I’m not much of a singer, mind you. That day, however, I sang. The song, no surprise here, of course, It Is Well With My Soul. I never knew the full story behind it until reading the book titled Miracles, by Eric Metaxas. You can be well even when you are not. It can be well even when it’s not. Horatio’s chorus, kinda miraculously, can ring true, friend. Last night, during our porch Church, Jamie reminded me of this story as she recalled the impact of this book on her family. We believe in miracles, small and not so small. Our porch Church and it’s impact on a few is no small miracle, is it? Look around you, friend. There are miracles all around you, especially in the struggle. If you and I will only develop eye’s that really see, I guess – I wonder.

It is well, it is well, with my soul. It is well, in the struggle. It is well…

2 thoughts on “It is well…

  1. interesting note and a great book by Metaxas
    incidentally a reading that I read this morning I think captures this melody
    below, All will be well;

    Why Beauty Matters

    Beauty is powerful. It may be the most powerful thing on earth. It is dangerous. Because it matters. Let us try to explain why. First, beauty speaks. Oxford bishop Richard Harries wrote, “It is the beauty of the created order which gives an answer to our questionings about God.” And we do have questions, don’t we? Questions born out of our disappointments, our sufferings, our fears. Augustine said he found answers to his questions in the beauty of the world:
    I said to all these things, “Tell me of my God who you are not, tell me something about him.” And with a great voice they cried out: “He made us” (Ps. 99:3). My question was the attention I gave to them, and their response was their beauty.
    And what does beauty say to us? Think of what it’s like to be caught in traffic for more than an hour. Horns blaring, people shouting obscenities. Exhaust pouring in your windows, suffocating you. Then remember what it’s like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow or a quiet beach. There is room for your soul. It expands. You can breathe again. You can rest. It is good. All is well. I sit outside on a summer evening and just listen and behold and drink it all in, and my heart begins to quiet and peace begins to come into my soul. My heart tells me that “all will be well,” as Julian of Norwich concluded. “And all manner of things will be well.”
    That is what beauty says: All shall be well.

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