Recent days have seen some truly amazing people leave the bonds of this world in what has seemed truly untimely deaths. The ones on whom I reflect have lived lives that testify powerfully of a life beyond – the true life that they no doubt enjoy even now in the presence of their Father whom they loved so very truly.
The peole that truly knew these folks are left in a very challenging spot. We are taught by our trust in God’s promises that have gone on are far better off than we. Disease has no more power over them and the frustrating limitations of this flesh has been left behind.
But we who remain are caught in this awkward mixture of deep sorrow for the loss of one so dear and yet a profound gratitude that their suffering has ended and their joy is full. We know down deep in our souls that it is well, as the old song so simply states it. And yet, our hearts hurt.
That classic hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” was written by Horatio Spafford as he passed the location of the recent death of his daughters. He wrote so beautifully in the first stanza:
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.
He acknowledges the extremes of life – peace and sorrow. He knows how it feels and he knows what is true – even though those are telling him something completely different. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you know what it is to say, like Mr. Spafford, “it is well.”
Our hearts still hurt. We still feel the loss. I don’t know the source of this arrangement or the addition to this classic hymn, but these important words have been added to the chorus:
It is well, with my soul,
Here’s my heart, make it whole
For You I live, in You I dwell
Oh my soul, it is well
In these times, even when it is well with my soul, my heart is still broken. I still need Him – the One who alone makes it well with my soul – to take my broken heart and make it whole again.