Belinda Kersey 7/10/07
Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
When you can say “it is well with my soul” and truly mean it in the core of your being, then you will know true peace. The trouble with our spoiled, pampered flesh is we add conditions. For example, “it is well with my soul as long as everything is status quo. It is well with my soul as long as I am happy, healthy and whole. It is well with my soul when all is well with everyone I know.” No, my friend, for those who walk with the Lord, we must learn to say with the apostle Paul, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Believe me, he was in some pretty sorry states for most of his ministry-shipwrecked, imprisoned, isolated from his supporters. But he could make that statement because he knew “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v. 13).
The song says “when peace like a river attendeth my way” AND “when sorrow like sea billows roll”. Have you ever seen sea billows roll? The waves literally roll one over the other. Have you ever felt the sorrows just keep coming your way? That is exactly what the writer meant. Horatio Spafford lost his only son in 1871. Shortly afterward he was ruined financially in the Chicago Fire. Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S. S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross ing the At lan tic, the ship sank, and all four of Spaf ford’s daugh ters died. His wife Anna sur vived. As Spaf ford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daugh ters had died.
I saw this absolute resolve in face of overwhelming grief firsthand a few years ago when a precious toddler named Kara was killed in a horrific accident. She was a wonderful miracle from God when she was conceived after repeated miscarriages. She was the kind of delightful, personable child that made many believe they had a special connection with her. Those who knew her were devastated, but no one’s sorrow could compare one iota to her parents’ and brother’s. Nevertheless, at her funeral when this song began, both her mother and her father lifted hands straight up to heaven in total surrender. It was the most moving moment I have ever witnessed. I will forever have that image seared into my mind when I hear this song. This family has continued to live out their faith and many have been reached for the Lord through their testimony. Kara's mother shared at a Bible study one day that she no longer feared anything that the enemy could send her way because she had faced her greatest fear and survived in victory.
I want you to know there is only one way to this kind of peace. Only one answer to your moments of sorrow and His name is Jesus. When you learn all you fear can not shake you when you are walking with Jesus, then you will be able to say “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.”
If possible, find a quiet corner of your room and just sit for a moment in the presence of Almighty God. Lift your hands to heaven in surrender and tell Him you praise Him in whatever situation you are in. Ask Him to enable you to make all things well with your soul whether you are living in peace or turmoil. All he wants to hear from his children is “whatever, Lord”.