By: Sarah MacKinney
My favorite hymn of all time is It Is Well With My Soul. I love the words, I love the story about how it was written, I love the hope that it offers and the sweet assurance it reminds us of. But honestly, I have walked through seasons in my life that I couldn't sincerely sing it. After we lost our daughter, I desperately wanted to be able to say those words. The truth was, it wasn't well with my soul. In fact nothing was well; not for a long time. I would sit and listen to it over and over and really try to get the words from my head to my lips, but it just wouldn't happen. And then I would feel guilty and pose questions to myself like, "If you were really a Christian, you would trust that God's plan is good," "If you really loved God then you wouldn't have this feeling of hopelessness." So then the guilt settles in. The shame screamed my name. The unfairness of it all threatened to overtake me. Knowing how I should feel, but not being able to find that peace the song speaks of, I became absolutely certain that nothing would ever be right again. Ever.
But then slowly; after the countless tears, the standing in the backyard yelling at the night sky, after so many prayers going up on my behalf and the sweet, wise counsel of Godly people, after the stumbling through my days barely able to breath; the heartache begins to fade. Slowly. The pain started to lose its grip. I found myself laughing again without having to force it. I began to think...."Maybe life really can be good again." I started to see the winter of my soul slowly turn to spring. Did I mention it was slowly?
Your story may be different. Maybe yours wasn't the loss of a child or loved one; perhaps it is a story of divorce or the loss of a job, a good friendship or financial woes. We all have different stories, but we all have one thing in common. A God who so desperately wants to sooth our aching souls. A God who hears our cries and reaches down and pulls us up. A God who sustains us through the lowest valley and the darkest of nights; a God whose compassion is never ending and unfailing. Would I have chosen to have this be part of my story? Would I have chosen to bury a child before I got to experience her first birthday? Absolutely not. And for many of you, you wouldn't have chosen the hardships that you have endured. But my good, sweet, gracious Father; so lovingly walked with me and I promise that He is walking with you too. It took me many years but I can fully say, It Is Well With My Soul. Not in an attempt to look super spiritual or because it's what I think I should feel; but because I believe God when He promises that all things work together for good to those who love Him. I believe God when He says He has a plan for me; a really good plan! I trust so fully in the Jesus I serve. Saying that it is well with my soul doesn't mean when I hear her name my heart doesn't ache a bit or that I don't ever wonder what dynamic she would add to our family. It doesn't mean I don't miss her; it simply means that if this is the road that was chosen for me to walk, then I'll walk it knowing who is on my side. It means I will use my pain to help others. It means I can hold on to the hope that I will see her again someday.
If you aren't there yet, don't give up. Don't lose hope. I promise you that He is busy working on your behalf and joy will come. One day, as it was with me, you'll be able to belt out the words to that beautiful hymn with 100% honesty, because one day, it will be well with your soul.