“For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.
Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad,
And your bones will flourish like the new grass;
And the hand of the Lord will be made known to His servants,
But He will be indignant toward His enemies.”
I love the old hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” written by Horatio Spafford. As soon as I type the words, or hear the title spoken, my soul begins to sing the words within me. You know how it begins…
“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.”
We all know the song as if it is our own and probably even know the story behind the writing of the song as well. This man had known extreme financial difficulties prior to the sinking of the ship that his wife and four daughters were traveling on. According to some reports, only his wife survived that wreck, and the pain and grief he must have felt had to be overwhelmingly tremendous when his own ship passed safely near the very location where his daughters had given up their lives.
It was in that place and that moment on the ship that he was said to have pinned the words to this song that seems to be etched for eternity in our souls. But we can never know the grief that he alone bore at that moment. Each one of us can only know our own sorrows and pains. And it can only be us alone in our moment of suffering who cry out to God in prayer and supplication to receive that peace like a river.
I wonder if Mr. Spafford cried out to the Lord at that very moment, and in return received God’s peace right then and there, or if it flowed in slowly, taking a long time, like a lazy, shallow summer river? Maybe it took time for him to receive that peace. Maybe the words he pinned on that day were the beginning to a long hard trial that God would walk him through. I don’t know that part of his story. I only know my own and for me some of the peace came quickly, but other parts have come very slowly, over years even, and after twenty years, it’s still flowing in.
It may be true that each one of us will experience deep sorrow during our lifetime. But God has a plan during these times. A plan to comfort us, to give us peace, to supply all of our needs. His plan, if we are willing, will cause us to rejoice, and to remain gentle in spirit, and to rest in His peace.
Inspired to Cherish
Take a moment and look up Philippians 4. Read through the entire chapter taking notice of what God does for us and what He calls us to do. Now let’s write out in our very best handwriting, verses 4-7. I found it interesting that the word “supplicate” means the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.
Have you ever spent time in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to God because of a situation that made you incredibly anxious or even distraught? Did you receive God’s peace that surpasses all understanding? Did it guard your heart and your mind? Did His peace come quickly, all at once, or slowly and over a long period of time?
Tomorrow we will continue with Day 6 of our September Devotion. I pray that you have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!
Blessings for a Happy SimplyLiving weekend.