Friday, January 6, 2012

All is Well

One of my favorite narratives from the Old Testament is about the Shunammite woman whose son suddenly dies.  Although nameless, the testament of this woman's faith lives on for eternity. I look forward to the day I shall stand beside her in Heaven.  The story of her and her son is recorded in chapter four of II Kings.  Even though her son had died, she only spoke, "It is well" as she journeyed to find God's Prophet. She didn't even tell her husband their son had died.  She refused to speak the circumstance.  The Shunammite woman received a miracle when Elijah laid over the body of her son and prayed, and life was restored back to him.  What faith! What self-control and command she had over her own tongue!
Fast forward generations upon generations to the life of Horatio Spafford in the late 1800's. He was a successful lawyer, husband and father of five, living in luxury in Chicago.  The death of his only son at age four in 1871 followed by the Great Chicago fire, left Horatio financially and emotionally bankrupt.

Horatio threw himself into the reconstruction of Chicago. Finally, he and his wife, Anna, planned a much-needed family vacation to England. Due to construction problems, Horatio decided to stay behind and join the family as soon as he could.  Anna and their four daughters set sail for England.  Tragedy struck again.  After colliding with another ship on the Atlantic Ocean, their vessel sank to the ocean floor. Horatio received a telegram from Anna with only two words "Saved alone..."  A parent's worst nightmare happened - she, alone, survived as her four daughters perished.

The original "It Is Well With My Soul" penned
over the watery-grave of Horatio's daughters
Distraught, Horatio took the next ship to England to be with his grieving wife.  As his ship neared the watery grave, the captain pulled Horatio aside and told him this was where his daughter's perished.  He dropped to his knees and cried, "It is well!"  He went back to his berth where he penned It Is Well With My Soul, the now-famous, gut-wrenching hymn.

Only those who have lived through personal tragedy can attest to how difficult it is to say, "All is well..." in the midst of your on-going adversity.  Both these historical figures gained mastery over their tongues and had tremendous self-control.  I can only assume that they spent much time in the Presence of The LORD and in His life-transforming Word.

The Shunammite Woman truly understood the Proverb, "Death and life is in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21), and Horatio Spafford knew to praise God in all things. I could picture Psalm 138 arising within his heart.

Thank You, LORD, for those who have gone before us.  Their lives are a living testament of what it means to be doers of Your Word; and ever an encouragement to soak in The Holy Scriptures, for our lives can change in an instant.  May it be Your Word that flows from my lips, not my circumstances, during a crisis.

Because of Him and Unto Him,


Anonymous said...

As you can see, just like with posting, I am catching up on my blog reading! :-) I love this, and thinking about that hymn makes me think of my precious grandparents who are now celebrating in heaven for eternity with our loving Father, as it was their favorite hymn of all. Thanks for sharing the story behind it with us all.

Diane Ronzino said...

It is such an awesome hymn and I'm glad it made you think of your prandparents. Thanks for sharing!

Lolita said...

Thank you, dear Diane. I never learned of the origin of this hymn. I love this hymn too. We sang this in a choir in the past and every time we sing this in church, its words never fails to amaze me.

I think of the authors ordeal and yet a heavenly peace assails him in its midst. Now I can celebrate the hymn more meaningfully knowing how the author fared along his mountainous loss yet quietly communing with the LORD. "It is well, it is well, with my soul!"

I love your prayer too, Diane.... may it grow wings upon wings to sour in heaven and bless others.

Diane Ronzino said...

I'm so glad you are blessed by knowing the background of the writing of this song. It does make the hymn that much more special when we sing it. And thank you for your blessing of the prayer. Beautiful!