Is It Well with My Soul?

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It is hard to believe. It is has been two years since the Pulse shooting that tragically took the lives of forty-nine people. Forty-nine lives that seem to have been cut short and many, many more who will be forever impacted—families, friends, and first responders (including all those at ORMC).


When such an unimaginable event happens the dominant question that surfaces is “Why?.” Even two years out the answers that have come to light are not satisfying and provide little solace.  It is here at the intersection of unanswered questions and unfathomable injustices that our true beliefs are exposed. 


For the non-Christian an added measure of pain is inflicted because there is no place to turn and the comfort that does come is short-lived.  For the Christian there are still unresolved questions as well as unspeakable grief, but we have a place to go and we are not alone. The Creator of Heaven and Earth is eager to draw near when only groans can be uttered amidst our tears. The Holy of Holies shares our sorrow to such an extent that even our worse days are never wasted.

Joni Eareckson Tada (believed to be the longest living quadriplegic) is an evangelical Christian, author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, is more than familiar with difficulty as she has been paralyzed for fifty-one years.  It is out of more than half a century of suffering that has given her the insight that

God allows what he hates in order to accomplish what He loves.

While this is not a complete answer, I fully anticipate that it may be the only answer I ever get in some cases, in this lifetime. Just because I do not understand does not mean that God’s sovereignty and providence has taken a hiatus, rather among other things it is a reminder of my own limitations.


Joni Eareckson Tada is not alone. There are others who have endured the unthinkable. Take Horatio Spafford who penned the late 18th century hymn, It is Well with My Soul. Spafford was stirred to write this after he had lost his two year old son, incurred financial devastation, and soon after his four daughters were killed in a ship wreck. Once he was reunited with his wife (who’s life had been spared from the ship wreck) he was inspired to write this hymn as the boat approached the area where his daughters’ lives were lost. Both Spafford and Tada are rather amazing people—may God grant us all this kind of capacity.


As we mark the Second Anniversary of the Pulse Night Club shooting, for those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior heed the words of Scripture, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I (God) will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NIV). For Christians may we join our collective voices and sing Spafford’s hymn, It is Well with My Soul. Not because we are not heartbroken for the lives lost at Pulse.  Not because we have the answers to all of our questions. Not because we understand anything. But rather, because we know that regardless of our hardships or circumstances true peace and comfort is only possible through our Savior Jesus Christ.

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
It is well
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 has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul


It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
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


It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Songwriters: P P. Bliss / Gloria Roe
It Is Well with My Soul lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
 


Thank you to Zoran Kokanovic for the photo from on Unsplash

Crosland Stuart