Friday, May 25, 2012

When Peace Like a River

When Mrs. Spafford survived the sinking of the ship that took the lives of her four daughters, she fell into despair. Easy to understand. Who wouldn't be despondent? Her three oldest daughters clung to her as the ship sank. Her infant was swept out of her arms by the waves. She was saved only because a plank of wood buoyed her unconscious body.

Yet she was able to sing along with her husband, "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 with my soul,   it is well, it is well with my soul.   2. 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.   (Refrain)
Knowing the background of these words truly brings the hymn to life.

Of course, the Spafford's understood that we have been saved from something even bigger than the sinking of a ship.
        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!   (Refrain) 
With the Lord in our life, nothing can touch us. No trial is too big that he won't see us through. No sin is too much that he cannot cover with his blood. Yes, it is a glorious thought. A peace-filled affirmation to us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. A buffer in a season of storms.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31; 35-39

Peace is a beautiful gift from the Lord and one that he bestows on us when we walk with him and submit our ways to him.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Even when our lives here on earth appear to be anything besides peaceful, we know we have a great peace waiting for us in heaven. Mr. Spafford must have been thinking of his children as he penned the last verse.

        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.   (Refrain
Then we will be in glory with all of the saints from time past and together with them and the Shunammite woman say, "All is well."

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