Ever wonder why the author of Ecclesiastes wrote. . .“to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven?” (Ecc. 3:1, KJV) What had he experienced that provoked such thought?
The author goes on to ponder the highs and lows and futility of life. After a significantly pessimistic conversation, light dawns. He recognizes God. God—the giver of life. The just judge.
Sometimes we glide through seasons with effortless grace. Thank God for each! Yet the seasons that draw us closer to God usually don’t come from smooth sailing. They’re borne from times of desperation, loss, or tragedy. In those times, we question God. Much like the author of Ecclesiastes. Where is He while we’re in the “waiting room?” When we feel our prayers go unanswered. Our plans are derailed. While we’re sitting on the sidelines struggling, holding our breaths, and waiting it out.
The beauty of a song forged by heartache sometimes lies masked behind the strength of its title. It is Well with my Soul is one such song.
Horatio G. Spafford’s life surged from one heart-wrenching season into another. After losing a fortune in the Chicago fire of 1871, he and his wife planned a much-needed family vacation to England. No wonder he wrote the lyrics with such an encouraging title.
Not hardly. . .
While he concluded urgent business, his wife and their four daughters set out across the Atlantic.
Sometime after his family departed, Horatio received a telegram from his wife. A tragic shipwreck claimed the lives of his four girls.
One account asserts that as the ship carrying Horatio to England neared the place where his daughters perished, the lyrics to this song welled inside him. He didn’t give in to a season of despair. Instead, he gave us a song in the night. A song of victory.
Imagine such faith!
From this point, we’d prefer to think Horatio’s life went on in an idyllic manner. Heaped with blessings he couldn’t contain. . .
Several years later, his three-year-old son died of scarlet fever. Financial loss compounded unbearable grief. Then the community of believers Horatio worshipped with turned their backs on him.
What did Horatio do in this season?
He pressed closer to the Lord, initiating prayer meetings in his home. In fact, he and his wife were dubbed “the Overcomers.” He then established an American colony in Jerusalem, adopted a boy there, and by the time Horatio died of malaria, he was loved and respected by the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish community.
From seasons of suffering, Horatio proved that with firm faith in the Lord, It is Well with My Soul.
By Amre Cortadino
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