Tag Archives: tragedy

It Is Well

“Hands are the heart’s landscape.” ~ Pope John Paul II
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:10-12
 
It is Well With My Soul
 
     I am including the story of the It is Well With My Soul. The loss that this couple experienced was unfathomable. Child, business, and then the rest of his children.
He had experienced the loss of nearly everything.  And yet, Horatio Spafford remained anchored in the Lord, and was able to pen a hymn that has stood the test of time.  
So often we “get through” a hymn to move on in the worship service.  Sometimes it has to do with our singing ability, sometimes we don’t care for the tune, sometimes it is ot lively enough.  The next time this hymn comes around, focus on the lyrics and remember this story.  It is why Bart Millard from Mercy Me included it in the song Even If.  Because despite what life throws, it is well with his soul.  Here now the story:
 

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

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 with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Lord, keep me anchored in you. Loss is unsettling, unbalancing, heart wrenching.  Help me to stay, when all is stripped away, in a place to sing It is well with my soul.

Because of Him,

“Hands are the heart’s landscape.” ~ Pope John Paul II
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:10-12
 
It is Well With My Soul
 
     I am including the story of the It is Well With My Soul. The loss that this couple experienced was unfathomable. Child, business, and then the rest of his children.
He had experienced the loss of nearly everything.  And yet, Horatio Spafford remained anchored in the Lord, and was able to pen a hymn that has stood the test of time.  
So often we “get through” a hymn to move on in the worship service.  Sometimes it has to do with our singing ability, sometimes we don’t care for the tune, sometimes it is ot lively enough.  The next time this hymn comes around, focus on the lyrics and remember this story.  It is why Bart Millard from Mercy Me included it in the song Even If.  Because despite what life throws, it is well with his soul.  Here now the story:
 

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

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 with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Lord, keep me anchored in you. Loss is unsettling, unbalancing, heart wrenching.  Help me to stay, when all is stripped away, in a place to sing It is well with my soul.

Because of Him,

Linda

Linda

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Praise you in the storm

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. 
 
                                                                   ~Voltaire
 
As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
    keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
                                                                  ~ Psalm 103:13-14
    We had an emergency at school once.  We had to evacuate the classrooms and sit in the halls.  At that point it was the 90’s, and portable video games had not really caught on.  So each class sat with their teacher in the hallway until the emergency passed.  As the school librarian, I was instructed to float, in case a teacher needed relief, or there was a child that needed to be brought to the nurse.
     I noticed many things that day, but the thing that stood out in my mind was a second grade class that was entranced by their teacher.  What started out as a group of whiny, scared students turned into a group engaged in playing games, telling jokes, singing in the hallway.  The teacher was steeped in the art of dealing with disaster, calming kids, road trips, crowd control.
     That day I saw a new side of her.  To the faculty she was often gruff, caustic, reclusive, but that day, she became a heroine of mine.  The kids weathered the storm and went home in a much better state that so many.
     This Orlando storm is beyond tragic, it was an act born of confusion, denial and out right hatred.  I still work in an elementary school.  This week’s heroine was our school secretary whose husband made rainbow ribbon support pins for the staff with simply one word hand printed on each one: Orlando.
     It is a “touch stone” for prayer, a beacon of support, a message for those who may not understand the whys, but they understand sadness.
     Though it is against human nature to go to praise in the time of storm, lifting the victims, the shooter, the families of all to the Lord in song and prayer certainly fits this emergency.
Lord, help us to bring our joys, our sorrows, our disasters, our heart’s cry to you as we praise you in this storm.
 
Praise You in the Storm
Because of Him,
Linda

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Bind Us Together

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

 
     ~ 1 Corinthians 1:10
 
The past is never dead, it is not even past.  
 
     ~ William Faulkner
 
There is an old movie that we were shown in a church youth group in the late 70’s called A Thief in the Night.  The Rapture has occurred and there are only those Christians left behind who were not ready or whose faith was weak at best.  Folks went to their church to ask the pastor why he was still on the earth.  He too professed a weakness of faith.  What I remember most about this film, (after it scared me at the time,) was that people from all Christian faiths banded together and became a united force.  They put their differences aside and focused on what they had in common, and survival in the time of the anti-Christ.
 
No matter what you believe about the Rapture, it is important to remember that in times of crisis, people don’t look for a denomination, or even a particular religious persuasion. They walk into open doors seeking guidance, solace, hope, a place to express their anger, a place to find community.
 
This school year is no stranger to tragedy natural or man-made.  Oklahoma City is yet another disaster that is bringing people together.  The loss of lives is more important than anything else, as well as the finding of one who was thought to be lost.
 
Today, celebrate those things that we as believers have in common, unite in prayer for Oklahoma and for first responders all over the world.  Pray for our administration and for our country.
 
Bind Us Together
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Let Go, Let God or Problem? No Problem!

The problem is not that there are problems.  The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.  

 
               ~ Theodore Rubin
 

11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall give praise to[a] God.”

 

~ Romans 14: 11

 

God and I have been in a relationship for some time now.  I know well enough that when a challenge presents itself, there is a blessing wrapped in its core.  This school year has been like living on a spiral mobile, turning into the light, thrust into darkness, turning into the light, darkness…It is not as gradual, but seems even more sudden.  This year, there have been many things to distract;

 

 

  • Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy (I live on the East Coast)
  • Losing loved ones.
  • The Nor’easter that followed.
  • Losing a week of school that was no vacation.
  • The Clackamas Mall shooting (my daughter worked there at the time.)
  • Newtown Connecticut shooting. (I have friends that live there, and I work in an elementary school.
  • The stabbings in China.
  • The Boston Marathon bombings.
  • Earthquakes in various places.
  • Tsunami’s that have affected various places.
  • Family challenges.
  • Colleagues and friends with cancer.
(I am sure you can add to this list.)
 
I know I have missed something, but underneath it all was/is another challenge.  One about which I have been in denial for several years.  I have looked for the blessings in each challenge, in each tragedy.  I have soaked up the blessings from the good that has happened in this school year.  It seems these are a filling up before the next blow that hits this earth, this race.
 
The part about denying it is, I have put off reaping the blessings that come from giving things over to the Lord, holding on to it by denying it.  It is just as difficult to receive a blessing when my arms are not free because they are holding on to something yet thinking that I could still go about my business while this other challenge was ” in the room,” but I would not address it.  Kind of like writing at a desk with a bag full of groceries in your arms.
 
The challenges are just gonna keep on coming.  My job has got to be to give those challenges to the Lord, rather than holding them while I am trying to move on.  When I put those groceries down, write the note, my arms are then free to receive, to hug, to praise the Living God.
 
Today, take another look at that challenge.  Give it to the only one who knows what to do with it.  Watch God turn it into an opportunity to be blessed, to bless others.
 
Because of Him,
Linda
 
Let Go, Let God.

 

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