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Is It Well...?

There are times when blaming God seems justified. Maybe God is blamed because a child has suffered an incurable illness. At other times, commitment to God may flounder when one feels betrayed to learn that a leader has not been faithful. There are many reasons why we, from time to time, feel like God, ?has let us down.? Following Him may seem senseless.

Calamities, while they can and do occur to everyone, are turning points. Because of them, we choose to follow God deeply or question his presence, power and ability to help us heal bounce back.

My mother, irrespective of what happens, renews her faith in God. She always bounces back. From childhood, her soul has been wounded by catastrophes. She used to tell me how she was denied the opportunity to go to school because she was a girl. What sets my mother apart is how she finds hope in God after the deaths of five of her children.

In 1974, David Musoo, age two, passed away in her arms from the measles. A year later, Stella Mwelu?s trump sounded as she drowned in a river before she had arrived at school age. She was followed by Ndolo Kituku ,who died of liver cancer only two weeks after his birth in 1981. Jane Mbinya, at age twenty, sweet and promising, heard her call while going to school at the University of Wyoming in 1995. Three years later, almost to the day, Martin Ghana, age thirty, died of asthma complications.

?God knows about it. My heart is fixed on Him,? she responds to each calamity. She affirms her belief by saying, ?He knows what He is doing. I have no doubt.? She clears all doubts about her faith in her God by, ?I will trust Him forever.?

Memories of my mother?s faith to God brings to mind Horatio Spafford, the Presbyterian layman of Chicago, who lost his holdings in the infamous Chicago fire of 1871. Shortly after, his four daughters perished in the sea on their way to Europe with their mother. The grief must have been of an imaginable magnitude as Mrs. Spafford wrote, ?Saved alone? to her husband. Kenneth Osbeck, author of, 101 Hymn Stories, says that, ?It is thought that on the sea near the area where his four daughters had drowned, Mr. Spafford penned the text of the, ?It Is Well With My Soul!?

The pain that pierced his soul reverberates in his words , ??when sorrow like sea billows roll?.? There is no pain, no darkness, no hopelessness that comes near the experience of losing one?s child. I have no idea how people bear it. But, his resolve about his soul?s commitment is heard in, ??whatever my lot?thou hast taught me to say, It is well,?with my soul.? We see the same resolve with Job in the Old Testament, ??the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord? (Job 1:21).

In the third stanza, Mr Spafford recounts how Christ died for his sins and then ends with praise that he, ?bears? his sins ?no more.? It is focusing on the wholeness and general goodness of God, but judging Him based on a prevailing circumstance, that creates a heart that can sing, ?It is well with my soul?? even when the ?billows roll.? Mr. Spafford?s last stanza brings to the surface a realization that his daughters could not come back, thus he prays for the Lord to ?haste the day when? his ?faith shall be sight.? King David showed the same realization by ending his fasting after the death of his first child with Bath-sheba (2 Samuel 12: 1-23). David said, ?Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.? This attitude and hope of being together again with a loved one is a comforting and an effective beginning point for the healing process.

How are the ?billows? rolling in your life? Is it still well with your soul?

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