Tag Archives: It is well with my soul

Beginning at the end

I suppose I’ve always been this way:

  • Shaking the presents to guess what’s inside.
  • Reading the last line of a comic strip to see if it’s funny enough to read the whole thing.
  • Reading the last chapter of a book first or the final concluding paragraph of an article.
  • Actually walking down the entire buffet line before I choose “buffet.”

Some of you understand. Maybe you belong to a family where you only tell the punchline and everyone laughs because they’ve heard the story so many times. Some of you are shaking your heads in disdain, saying it’s the process that counts as much as the end result. And you are right. Sometimes the ending is spoiled when we know it too soon. If you knew all along “the butler did it”, where is the mystery?

Whether it’s waiting for Christmas morning, waiting for kids to grow up, or waiting for an answer to prayer, we have this desire to skip to the end.  I’ve heard some say that whether it’s good news or bad, they just want to know so they can move on to the point they can actually do something.

Though it often escapes us, there is purpose in waiting. Waiting provides for us, protects us, and prepares us.

Waiting provides valuable lessons that can’t be learned in the instant gratification lane. Besides teaching me patience, a virtue few of us enjoy learning, waiting provides me with a renewed sense of perspective. It causes me to realize I’m not in control of everything, not even my own life. There are situations where the only control I have is how I respond to the situation. We aren’t always the captain of our own destiny. Waiting teaches us that God is God; I’m not. It provides greater blessing when I would have chosen less.

Waiting protects us. I recall a number of times when my delay was actually the hand of God protecting me from a poor choice, a bad relationship, or an unforeseen accident down the road. Sometimes we have to wait for certain doors to open because we aren’t ready for what’s on the other side. Sometimes, if we push too hard, we open a door not meant for us, revealing real dangers we hadn’t anticipated in our eagerness to pass through. Imagining the consequence of our choice helps us to wait patiently.

Waiting prepares us. Imagine trying to pass a test without studying and learning the material. Consider the consequences of being promoted too quickly to a job only to find you lacked experience to be successful. Reflect on the plight of being thrust into marriage too soon. Waiting prepares us for a future we’re unready for now. It affords the opportunity to build not only our knowledge and skills, but our character.  Just as we wait for a fruit tree to produce good fruit, so waiting produces good results in our lives.

So which is better, waiting or skipping to the end? As with most of life, the best answer may not be “either/or” but “both/and.”  As difficult as it is to wait, especially in the darkest times, it’s helpful to skip to the end of the bible and read the conclusion of the story. “God wins!” Our God who sees you and me right where we are, who knows our pain and every temptation that faces us – this same Mighty God will work good for all those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.  He will show you the way to go because you have not been there before. The end of this chapter of my life is not evident just now. But the end of my story – and all who trust God – is clearly revealed. The power of God’s Spirit gives us peace in the middle of the storm and secures our hope, “as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

While you are waiting in difficult times, go ahead and skip to the end of the story and see that it is well with your soul.


My soul, wait in silence for God only



My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. Psalm 62:5


We are created with spirit, soul, and body and these three entities are constantly communicating with or ignoring the other.


Our spirit is created to align with God’s spirit in us. When we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior He gives us a new and pure spirit. Think of your noisy and often rebellious soul (our mind, will, emotions, and memory) as how we relate to others and our circumstances. The soul isn’t changed right away. It requires (often years of) training to listen to and obey the spirit. Our body, the temple of God, is commanded by our soul. It is the order of things as they were created.


With this framework, we understand Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7 where he says that he does the things he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do the things he does want to do. Our spirit, our soul and our body battle with one another and nearly every day, one of them loses the battle. The soul becomes ‘prisoner’ to the body or the other way around. Only when God’s spirit breaks into that prison, do we find real freedom to live in peace.


Our soul often bemoans the past, whines about the present, and worries over the future. It complains incessantly even about its own struggles to surrender to God, seeking its own way instead.


The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us there is a season for all things, including “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7) The victorious life requires us to tell our noisy soul to be quiet and wait in silence only for God, for HE is our hope.


Is our soul ever controlled? I think we are better to think in terms of surrendering every part of our soul to God: our will, our thoughts, our emotions, our attitudes, our very heart. When we surrender all the soul to the spirit of God our soul is quieted and silenced before Him and then we can hear Him speak peace and joy and hope to us. It is then that all is well with our soul.


Too often I forget to keep attending to the spiritual nature of the battle around and within me. I wonder how many of our bodily woes are actually battle wounds from these struggles? This process of sanctification is a life-long series of struggles, bearing numerous scars. But the battle decreases when we live according to the proper role of submission: the Holy Spirit commands our spirit. Our spirit commands our soul. Our soul commands our body, bringing us into proper alignment with God’s good and perfect will.


Is it well with your soul today? Shut out the noise of the world and also the noise of your inner being. Be still. In silence let God speak hope, joy, and peace to your soul.



It Is Well With My Soul

The year was 1873. Horatio Spafford had been a successful and wealthy Chicago lawyer. But following the tragic loss of his son and then losing most all his real estate investments in the great Chicago fire, Spafford sent his wife and four daughters on a boat trip to Europe with plans to follow them soon. But the ship crashed and all four daughters drowned. Taking another ship to join his grieving wife he penned these now famous words which have inspired millions over the last century. But notice in the third verse, why it was well with his soul. Not because his lost children had crossed to their heavenly reward, but because his sins, not in part but in whole, had been forgiven.

It Is Well With My Soul

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.

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 hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


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.


And Lord haste the day, when my 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.