When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well, with my soul”
Can I say that? Is it well with my soul? This classic hymn of our faith states the contrast between peace that flows like a river – constant, unending peace. The opposite is sorrow that is like a sea billowing, overflowing.
Peace vs. Sorrow.
Yet, the hymn goes on to say that “whatever my lot” it is well with my soul. It is difficult to accept that peace and sorrow should have the same result – acceptance. The only way that is possible is for one to have the belief that God has a purpose for life. That God will use everything one faces in life to fulfill His purpose – and that the purpose is ultimately good.
I have recently attended the funerals of three people close to my age. Two of these were very sudden, unexpected deaths. The other was the result of a battle with cancer. Sorrow came crashing like waves on those loved ones left behind. The comfort of God’s peace will come as the sorrow ebbs away. Yet it will take time to sense that peace.
When our children face the loss of a loved one, it is important to talk with them about the sorrow they feel. It is helpful to let them cry and see that others are mourning the loss as well. Don’t try to “be strong” for others. Open, honest sorrow is normal and real and children need to see that.
It is also important to talk about the peace we can feel as we trust in God. We do not understand why, but we trust in God’s love.
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
God’s peace will allow us to honestly say “It is well with my soul.”