Many of you likely know the famous hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” by Horatio Spafford. The story behind Mr. Spafford penning these beautiful lyrics is gut-wrenchingly tragic. His four daughters and wife were on a boat on the Atlantic, heading to Great Britain. On the way, their boat collided with another boat and sank.
Of his family members, Mr. Spafford’s wife was the only survivor–his four daughters drowned in the ocean. Mrs. Spafford sent a message to her husband with only these words: “saved alone”.
He got on a boat and began the journey to meet his wife in Great Britain. It’s said that he wrote these lyrics as he was on the boat, near where is thought to be the spot in the ocean that his daughters drowned from the accident.
The lyrics to this hymn evoke strong emotion for me, especially knowing the history behind it. One part in particular, however, previously seemed to me almost not to fit with the rest.
“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!”
While mourning the loss of his daughters, Horatio Spafford turned to the cross–to the reality of his sin and what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. Shouldn’t he just be talking about his grief? Quoting Scripture about God wiping away our tears, about our trials leading to perseverance and hope?
These verses are 100% helpful and necessary during periods of walking through the valley, and they have been like water to my soul during these past weeks.
But what I need most in this season of suffering is in fact what I need most in every season of life–the gospel.
While hearing about others’ experiences, reading books specifically on suffering and journaling through my thoughts and emotions has been incredibly healing, what I ultimately need to be reminded of over and over again is the cross, the blood of Jesus.
I was hopelessly separated from Christ for eternity; the weight of my sin greater than I ever could realize. But God gave me life through the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. No matter what may happen to me on this earth, God has already given me the greatest gift he could ever give me–the forgiveness of my sins, and thus an eternity to spend with Him.
No amount of counseling or time, number of books read or future children can make me whole again. I can’t self-help my way to wholeness. Nothing outside of the blood of Jesus can make me whole again.
And I mean whole in the entirety of the word–not just healing from the pain of the loss of our unborn child, though that is certainly included. But rather completely spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally whole, once and for all because of Christ’s blood.
If your life feels like a hot mess right now–maybe a relationship has ended, you can’t find a job or hate the one you have, your children are walking down a dangerous path, you’ve lost a loved one, your finances are in shambles, you feel alone and isolated, or you’re just simply overwhelmed by all that life currently seems to be throwing at you–stop running to empty promises of fulfillment.