It Is Well?

The song “It Is Well with My Soul” has always provoked strong emotions in me. I have often found myself changing the radio station or stepping out of services when this song is played. It is a rare occasion that I allow myself to listen to the song. When I do, my tears are called to arms and find their way racing down my cheeks.

It is well? How? Why? It certainly doesn’t feel well in these moments. When tragedies occur, when people hurt others, when you have to say good-bye to someone in this life…these are a few examples. It is well? Trying to sing that song in these circumstances I find myself instead saying “it is not well!”

Patsy Clairmont once said, “Feelings don’t have brains” and in moments when I am questioning if it is well with my soul, I would do good to remember that statement. David wrote “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and My God.”[1] I find great encouragement in the fact that even David had to remind himself that it is well.

I recently attended a women’s retreat with my church and was greeted by many new faces. It was a great time to get to know each other without the everyday life distractions. Women from all walks of life attended, some still in their teens.  We sang songs praising God, and songs about renewal. The discussions were flavored with scriptures and insight, truth, encouragement and empathy.  There was time set aside for physical exercise as well as mental and spiritual exercise. One evening we came together in support of each other, each woman taking a stand for another’s struggle. “Sister, you are not alone.” It was a powerful yet beautiful group exercise.

Looking around the chapel at the attendees I didn’t notice the color of hair or eyes, or the clothing they wore. I saw hearts. Hopeful hearts, cheerful hearts, courageous hearts and fierce hearts.  An army full of the daughters of God, replenishing supplies for the battles to come—polishing our protections of truth, righteousness, faith and salvation; dusting off our shoes of peace; sharpening our swords of the Spirit[2]. Warriors returning from the battle, if only for a moment, witnessing that God pulled them through whatever storm had battered them. An inspirational group of women!

We did not sing the song “It Is Well” during the weekend, but as I drove off to return home it came to my mind. I have thought about it frequently during these past weeks. It is well… difficult words to verbalize during the storms of life. Is it well?

As I sat down to write this blog, I realized that I couldn’t recall any of the other words to this song. But I could not get the phrase out of my head. A pattern of emotional overload had been laid in my heart and I allowed it to take up residence, instead of giving all my emotions to God. The resident had covered my eyes to the blessing of the song which is that “Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say it is well, it is well, with my soul….that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.” [3]God has given us protective gear; Jesus died for our souls. Remember that He guards your soul. Give him your bruises, sorrows and worries; allow your soul to rest in His promises. It is well with my soul.

[1]Psalm 42:11

[2]Ephesians 6:13-17

[3]Lyrics by Horatio Spafford

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