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…