Life can be hard. If you know the story of Horatio Spafford’s life, then you know just how hard life can get for some. His young son died in the ‘Great’ Chicago fire in 1871. His four daughters all perished in a shipwreck with his wife, Anna, being “saved alone.”
Yet after all that, he penned this song as he sailed over the location where his daughters had lost their lives. He was on a journey to England to meet his grieving wife after their tragic deaths, Their pain and suffering didn’t end there. I encourage you to look up the story of their lives.
Sometimes Christians treat God like a fairy god-mother or a genie in a bottle. Many of us believe He’s supposed to make all our troubles disappear. The Presbyterian church actually told the Spafford’s that the death of their children was “divine punishment.” Sadly, many Christians suffering today from chronic diseases have been told that if they had more faith they would be healed, or worse yet, that they did something to bring on their conditions. It’s punishment for their sin.
Do not misunderstand, I’m not saying that chastisement never occurs, but we don’t know why God allows another Christian to suffer. Look back at the story of Job and how his “friends” had it wrong. Job was a righteous man. God allowed Satan to harm him anyway.
God did not promise us easy lives. He told us that the trying of our faith worketh patience (James 1 : 3) and that tribulations worketh paitence.
Rom 5 : 3 (KJV)
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
God tries our hearts. He told us He would. Why are we so surprised when He keeps His word?
Prov 17 : 3 (KJV)
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
So, with Paul, let us remember to glory in our infirmities. God didn’t tell us it would be easy, but it will bring us closer to Him and help to shape our personalities.
2 Cor 12 : 9-10 (KJV)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
How about we all stop assuming that if we were better Christians our lives would be all rainbows and unicorns. Life is hard. Walking with Jesus allows us to put those burdens on His shoulders. Life can be more than bearable. It can even be joyful when we walk with Christ, but it doesn’t mean we won’t have problems. It doesn’t mean we will be financially blessed with a million dollars, physically blessed with great health and spiritually blessed with a thriving ministry. God may give us all three. He didn’t give Paul the first two, only the third. Not everyone receives the same blessings.
Next time we’re suffering, how about we try to think of the pain that Horatio Spafford was feeling when he wrote the words to “It is Well with My Soul?” It might help to remind us where to focus our attention—on the One who made our souls in the first place. And then, maybe, it will be well with our souls.
Share your thoughts on being “well” despite suffering in the comments.
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Elle E. Kay shares her thoughts on suffering as a Christian as it relates to the hymn “It is Well with My Soul.”