Peace like a river

Music captured me very young. It speaks and the emotions it can generate are very real. It can share hope, it conjure love, it can bring joy, it can even anger, it can speak to all walks of life and not just speak but emote it in us.

When peace like a river attendeth’ my way. When sorrow like sea billows blow. Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say. It is well, It is well with my soul.

I love this song so much, but there was a time when I did not. There are few songs that cause me to reflect and cry as this song. This song moves me so much but there was a time when it moved me the wrong way.

I used to think that how convenient it was for God that my soul was well while the rest of my life is in turmoil. Thanks God. But this thinking was from a man who did not understand nor truly know his maker. I did not realize that life is more than the shifting sands of life and circumstance. Life was more than the sum of my experiences.

Only a life that has been tested can stand and say these words heartfelt . It is well. God is calling us all to this intimacy with himself. God wants us to understand that he is with us through all life. This is why faith is called faith. We will not always see the comfort, we will not always see his helping holding hands, we will not always see his strong arms, but we can believe it is so. Why?

This lives’ circumstances is not at all the purpose. As a better man once said If you know the Lord then this life is only the first chapter in a story that goes on for eternity between a man and his maker. I look beyond to the beyond because God granted access to himself by himself. My separation from him was not destined for forever. I was rightly off at a distance from God but he has made a way where there was no possible way to him.

My sin o’ the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole. Was nailed to the cross and I bare it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh my soul.

This speaks because we are welcomed into his presence. I got lost for awhile because I thought that this meant that I was no longer supposed to sin. I think this is a growing pain for all Christians. To get to the place where we understand that being moral is not the point. It is a fruit for sure but one that comes about because of the actual point which is the very relationship with God himself.

We bear it no more does not mean I have now gained perfection or that I am supposed to now no longer sin. It is not glorious because of some misguided self-righteousness, no even I needed the nailing to the cross. It means the very wall of separation that was between man and his God is torn down. The veil has been torn and all are welcome to the Holiest of Holies. God is calling to us and he wants you to know that it is well with your soul. Do you know him?

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.

He is alive, that means everything. He is alive. It means he was true. It means we can live on and death has nothing on us anymore. All those who have gone before know it and one day we will stand before him and our faith will no longer be necessary. The blessed hope. I long for the day when my faith is no longer necessary. But there are others who need to know now, because faith is a necessity now.

This song is about the real peace that comes and can be known through a faithful relationship with God. But the song recognizes that the storms do come. There are many, many people that are lost in the storm. The waves are too big and they simply cannot hope. They see darkness and they feel the wind and they simply will not believe that there is a way out. They resign themselves to the situation and the storm consumes them. Too many have already perished. There are other still who started out with God sailing along and when the storms came they could not reckon how God who brought them out into the waters could allow so much damage and loss and who thus choose to resign themselves to the storm.

Hoping hurts.

It may seem convenient to say it is well with my soul while the world burns but it can still be true, and what a joy when you reach that place in your walk with God. Not that we let the world burn but when we gain the joy we also see the need to grab a bucket and perhaps stem the flames, or to go back to the previous metaphor, we are able to weather the storm.

The world has ways of dealing with the storm. They deny it, they refuse help in the midst of it. They rage against it. They say it is simply part of life and do not try to understand it. They would rather be as comforted as humanly possible along the way without looking up. They know the storm is real but they let that convince them that there really is never going to be that safe harbor, or that it doesn’t matter.

How can I tell those that one day that the trump will resound? How can I tell them that one day the Lord will descend? How can I tell them that death is not the end? How can I tell them It is Well? How can I tell them that the love they seek, the love they feel, the comfort they experience and hope that they feel when they hear their favorite song can truly be real. I don’t need to put it on repeat because I know my redeemer lives.

God help me to be changed by your glory so that I can speak even though the winds carry on. God help my life to give testimony of your alive Son Jesus. He is alive and so all is well with my soul. Help me to present truly good news. Help my faith speak.

When the storms blow and when friends and brothers go to the grave there is peace like a river and the boatman is Jesus.



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