Even So It Is Well With My Soul

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This season of life has been unique. Kind of like the mornings of sidewalk counseling when the brisk, bone chilling temperatures threaten to turn you blue, when suddenly the sun peeks over the clinic for just a moment. Light exposing the shadows. Clouds moving. Darkness fleeing. Warmth growing.

If I could have written the story of my life, I would not have included the chapters of much of what 2016-2017 included. But I am not in control, and these have been, shall we say, different times of life.

"Growth of any kind demands difficulty."

My missions school teacher preached these words to my class this summer. It's a comfort in the regard. that it must imply that Jesus so desires for me to grow that when worst has come to worst, He is still my True Vine and is growing His branch. 

Between living in a broken family, my health having a hissy fit, encountering work problems, and trying to clarify plans for what's next, life has felt kind of odd. 

You know those people in your life who care but are harsh in the way they respond? (As in have to lecture you whenever they have an opinion about something you said?) We all have individuals in our lives like that; however, not every person will treat us in this manner. Yet whenever someone asks, "So how are you doing?" I am thinking about how I would prefer not to expound lest I be lectured on how I need to keep my chin up.

I'm not looking for optimism. I'm looking for Him here. In the dark. In the pain. In the brokenness. In everything that has not made sense, He is yet present. He is God and He has already overcome. This means that I have grace to push through, because He is always strong when I feel weak.

When I get to cancel my plans because my stomach is sick and tired of being a stomach. When family situations flare up and we have to sort through things. When my coworker is angry with me for being "too nice" to a resident, because she believes we should have a drill sergeant approach. When three timeouts have to be given within an hour to the same child while nannying. When a random guy yells at me outside the abortion clinic because He doesn't want to hear a single thing about Jesus.

In each of these moments and every one hereafter, He is God. He will never change. He is my Healer, my Peace, my Joy, my Discernment, and my Hope. 

When peace like a river attendeth my way
AND when sorrows like sea billows roll

At both seasons of life, He is faithful. Do I understand why some things in my life are falling apart without explanation? No. 

BUT whatever my lot
Thou has taught me to say 
"It is well with my soul."

No matter how much everything around me threatens to fall in, He will never be shaken. He is my Rock. Because of who He is and the grace He provides for me each day, each hour, and each second, I'm going to make it. Up one more mountain. Through a thousand storms. Beyond the valley.

This God of ours is able when we're just not able anymore. 

When the stress, sadness, and pressure are there under the surface, He sees. Even when no one else does. He is our only place of rest when this world has us exhausted beyond taking the next step; what good moments these are to show us how empty we are and how full and able He is. 

It's not as the world says. "You're stronger than you think!" No, I'm weaker than I think (in and of myself), but He is always strong, able, and faithful. The moment I think it's about me and anything I can do, I stop living out of heaven's resource and start living just how the enemy wants. Without abiding in the Vine. And my goodness does our strength ever run out quickly when we do not live by His grace. 

He is Here with us, and He will enable us, if we will look to Him.

An Egyptian servant woman found herself being used for the purpose of growing someone else's family. She discovered that she was expecting a baby, and the wife of her child's father treated her very harshly. Probably feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, she fled into the hot wilderness to get away. Pausing to rest at a spring of water, an angel came to her. The angel asked where she was going, to which she replied, "I am running away from my owner." 

Things were broken in her life. Pain, difficulty, and sadness were likely deeply rooted in her heart. How would this messenger from heaven respond? Tell her to get over it and move on?

No, the messenger told her to return to her owner, and gave her a promise. He shared some of God's plan for what was to come, and reminded her that the Lord had heard her affliction. He had noticed, and had not overlooked even the slave girl. She was important in His sight. She called upon the name of the Lord who was speaking to her and said, "Lord, you see me!" 

This is the only place in Scripture we see Jesus called El Roi: He sees me. (Genesis 16). 

How incredible is it that He revealed more of who He is to her at a place of brokenness in her life. What if she had never faced the troubles with Sarai and Abram? Would she ever have come to call upon Him and know Him?

As I walk through what feels like a wilderness, I want to remember Hagar, and where she was met by Jesus. 

Jesus is worthy of this. If what I'm experiencing now will cause me to need Him more desperately... If all the changes of plans work together so that He might be glorified.... If the pain, sorrow, and heartache cause me to remember that He alone is my Home, then it will be worth it all.

If He will be known better (and how He is worthy of being known and proclaimed), then I want to face whatever He has coming. When I awake to a hundred new challenges tomorrow, He will be there. He sees me; it's who He is, and He never changes. I will not be abandoned while I walk a path that seems dry and dusty. 

There is no pit so deep that His love is not deeper still // Corrie ten Boom

El Roi is with me; He dwells in me, and nothing in all creation can separate me from His love. Nothing at all. There is nothing I could face that He has not first seen; He doesn't ever abandon His children. We are always in His sight.

God wants to take our problems and turn them into building material for His miracles // Corrie ten Boom, Tramp For the Lord

He is working everything together, at this very moment, for good unto those of us who love Him. He will be glorified here, if I will obey and surrender. If I will listen and follow Him in what seems strange and unexpected from my perspective, He will accomplish His eternal purposes in and through this existence. 

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

Because He is God, tomorrow is possible. Pain may be included. Sorrows may produce silent aching. Troubles may create a strain. But if He is with me, then it is possible. He sees me, and He is here, so I may push on. He is worthy, and He alone makes it well with my soul.

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