Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It is Well With My Soul

On Thursday March 3rd, I went to a celebration.  A celebration of a man's life.  A dear man, whom I've known all my life.  He was my Great Uncle.  Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy funerals, but this was so overwhelmingly beautiful....every person in the room knew that he was in Heaven....with Jesus.  Knowing this truth about someone you love is so reassuring, so refreshing...it's all the more reason to celebrate his life, with a pain in our hearts for our loss, but a joy overtaking that pain, because of a life lived for the Love of God. 

An exerpt from his obituary:
"He loved Farming, farming, farming, and fishing when he wasn't farming.  Herman touched many lives by his faithful walk with God, despite many trials.  He had a great love for his family, a wonderful sense of humor and what fun he had playing games.  His greatest joy was knowing that his family lived for the Lord." 

I do recall Hermie wanting to help with the harvest well into his elderly years....that drive to grow things and harvest them, it was in his blood.  My fondest memory of Hermie was during a church service when he had told the pastor that he wanted to sing a song for special music.  He didn't get up on stage, they brought him the microphone and he belted out (literally) the most beautiful (scruffy) version of Amazing Grace I'd ever heard....despite not hitting one note, it was evident that he was singing about a Grace that was indeed AMAZING.  As I sat in the row behind him, alligator tears graced my cheeks.  God's grace was never more clearly presented to me than in that song that day.   

During his funeral, all of his grandchildren (my cousins) sang Amazing Grace in memory of him...every verse.  When they got to the verse that sang "When we've been there ten thousand years, we've no less days to sing God's Praise than when we've fist begun."  It hit that he was there...he was just beginning his eternal singing...Praising the Lord who gave him life, gave him breath, and the ability to farm, fish, and have a family, a family that lives on the legacy of a follower of Christ.  It was a bit more quiet while that verse was sung, tears being shed, but great hope that someday we'll join uncle Hermie singing the joyous choruses of the Holiness of God, the greatness of His grace. 

There is something about Hymns.  Many people are revolting against them....but I LOVE them and can appreciate them so much more than most songs that have recently been written.  The lyrics are pure, simple, and continually pointing people to Christ.  Not speaking of how we feel, or what we need or what we want....

Read carefully the words to one of the hymns we sang at Uncle Hermies funeral:

It Is Well With my soul
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
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, with my soul,
It is well, 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, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

We read that through our eyes as often we do with so many things and not knowing the true history behind it...the man who wrote this, Horatio Gates Spafford, had lost so much.  His life was seemingly, from an outside view, in turmoil. I could tell you my thoughts on this, but you should really just go read the history behind this great hymn....it will take on new meaning.  He's not saying "I'm so happy, I'm so happy"  That's not at all what he means when he says "It is well with my soul"  It's a depth of knowledge of The God who nailed MY sin to the cross, not in part, but the whole of my sinfulness, with His Son, on the cross. And the promise of a day when He will come again...
Go here  to read the story about this song and the man who wrote it.  
I'm praying that I can more appreciate the "simple" things in life that are not simple at all...but deal with the complexity of a GREAT and HOLY God. 
One of the verses underlined in Hermies Bible, which was as worn as his old body lay, was Jeremiah 17:7-8:
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence.  He is like a tree planted along a riverbank, with it's roots reaching deep into the water- a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried by long months of drought.  It's leaves stay green and it goes right on producing all it's luscious fruit."   

May your life and mine continue to produce luscious fruit...and might we say, not because of faulty hapiness, but because of GOD: It is well with my soul

1 comment:

  1. Chrissy, thank you so much for posting this! That was absolutely beautiful. What a tender reminder of the grace and faithfulness of our Lord, especially through the most trying and difficult times of our lives.