Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 January 2023 Romans 8:28.

Romans 8:28.       And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Another day of life, another Sunday on God’s great earth, another opportunity for His people to gather in His sanctuary to fellowship and offer up prayer and praise with thanksgiving. It doesn’t get any better than that. And today’s song offering is one that’s very near and dear to all our hearts, because it shows how our faith can transcend all the negative, unfortunate and heartbreaking circumstances we might experience in this fallen world. The song is most appropriately titled, ‘It is well With My Soul.’ 

And the story goes that the author, Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a successful lawyer and businessman in the Windy City of Chicago. His family consisted of his wife, four daughters and a son. But as so happens to even the best and most faithful of us, tragedy struck. He lost his four-year-old son to scarlet fever, then shortly thereafter in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed all his real estate investments, seriously decreasing his wealth. Then, in 1873, Spafford sent his wife and four daughters to a much need holiday in Europe, with the intentions of joining them later. 

Much to his chagrin though, a few days later he received a telegram from his wife, which apparently read, ‘Saved alone. What shall I do?’ informing him that their ship had been destroyed and his four daughters perished with it. She was the sole surviving member of the family. Can you imagine the sorrow and sadness the poor man must have endured? But he finally sailed to meet his wife and during the crossing, the captain apparently pointed out the spot where his daughters met their watery graves, then Spafford went to his cabin and wrote this beautiful hymn as ‘a testament to the salvation he found in Jesus through the good and bad times in life.’ 

So, as the snow falls from the high heavens this last Sunday in January 2023,  let’s do it justice now by offering up our sacrificial praise in a soulful, heartfelt, mid-tempo version. Singing: ‘When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul (Chorus: It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.) 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Chorus) 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 (Chorus) For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Chorus) 

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! (Chorus) And Lord, haste the day when the 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. It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.’  

Oh my people, that’s the unwavering truth! It’s never easy, but when we put our sincere trust in Christ Jesus, He does enable us to bear even the most horrible tragedy with some semblance of peace and calm! And I can personally testify to that, for when my adorable mother Molly, died unexpectedly some twelve years ago while I was in California, I experienced that true peace and calm Jesus offers to those who walk with Him in faith. I was writing the Bit one morning when I was told I had a phone call from my mother’s caregiver, and right away I sensed what had happened, and surprisingly I just felt this feeling of peace overcome me. 

Now, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel the pain, but there’s an aura of peace around you that compassionately keeps you together during those rough times. Yes friends, God’s LOVE and grace do help us get through those times when the challenges are coming hard and fast and we feel all alone, without a place to turn to for help and succour, and consequently feel that we’ll never be able to handle them. 

But when you feel helpless and all alone, that’s the very time you ought to turn to Jesus, for remember He is the ONE who strengthens us and acts as place of refuge and solace like the opening verses of Psalm 46 remind us. ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.   Selah.’ (Ps. 46: 1-3) 

And that’s the gospel truth! But we have to believe it to see it. That’s the basic tenet of our faith. We have to let our faith rise up and accept God’s grace, mercy and compassion when we are hurting. No, it’s never easy, but with God’s help, always possible. Like Bruh David says n Psalm 67:7. ‘In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.’  That reminds of another great man of faith, Job, who suffered a terrible loss of family and business like Spafford did. 

And what was his reaction? He chided his wife who advised him to curse God and die. ‘But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil (accept calamity)? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:10) Unfortunately though, that’s not something too many of us can say when calamity strikes us, and we are believing God for help. Our first reaction is usually anger and vehemence at God. 

But that never helps the situation. We must understand that there’s a reason and purpose for EVERY THING that happens in our lives, though we can’t figure it out. Our Lord doesn’t just bring or allow calamity upon for us for no purpose, but it’s all a part of His overall plan for our lives. And we need to remember that whatever He allows to come against us, He will also allow us a way to get out or through it. That’s why we need to rise up on those calamitous occasions and say like Job of God. ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.’ (Job. 13:15) 

That’s the kind of unquenchable faith we believers need in these ever so important and contrary times. Even when it appears that God has turned against us, we must still trust in Him, for Job eventually received twice as much as he originally had and I’m sure Horatio Spafford received some kind of divine reward for his faithfulness. So please, as we walk in the trials and tribulations of our times, let’s remember this awesome, all-encompassing promise: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ (Rom. 8:28) Much LOVE!

…you can’t walk by faith…without showing your faith in your walk… 

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