And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13
A few months ago, my father’s health and cognitive state began to decline rapidly. He was easily confused, agitated, unsettled, and sometimes even fearful. The decision was made that he should begin hospice care. He lived in another state, so I received daily updates from my stepmother, and I spoke to my dad on the phone a couple of times. The daily reports were often filled with news that troubled all of us.
One of my brothers suggested that we videotape messages for Dad that could be played for him when he was having a good day (or hour, or few minutes). I knew I wasn’t going to be able to visit him before Father’s day, so I recorded a special Father’s Day message, and my son and I recorded a couple of songs. The song I chose to sing for my dad was Todd Fields’ arrangement of, It Is Well. I sang the words “It is well with my soul” to the best of my ability, but I didn’t really feel like the words were true at that moment.
My dad passed away in late June, and in early July, when we gathered to celebrate his life, we sang the hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. My dad had chosen the hymn because it was one of his favorites. I sang each word with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I definitely didn’t feel like the words were true for me at that moment. But were they true for my dad? Was everything well with his soul?
Did you ever have a thought, a word, a phrase, or maybe even a song, that keeps popping up in some way? I’ve encountered the phrase, It is well with my soul too many times since my father’s death for it to be a coincidence. First we sang the hymn at his memorial service. Then, when I attended a conference in July, I stopped by one of the vendor tables during a break. Their show special was a necklace with the words, It is well with my soul engraved on a metal pendant. I looked around their booth and discovered a bracelet engraved with these three words: It is well. Naturally, I purchased both items.
A week or so after my conference, my best friend shared an amazing story with me that featured a cab driver singing, It Is Well With My Soul as he drove her to her destination. Shortly after that, an ad appeared on my Facebook page for a t-shirt that caught my attention. You’ve probably already guessed that the words on the front of the shirt were: It is well with my soul. Last weekend, while my husband and I were enjoying a beach getaway, I found a similar t-shirt in a gift shop and my husband bought it for me.
Wow! I believe God is trying to tell me something important and I need to listen. I think there are at least two things I’m supposed to hear.
- Maybe God is sending me a message of assurance that my dad is okay. The thought that my dad can say, “It is well with my soul”, brings me comfort, even in the midst of my sadness.
- Maybe God is reminding me that He wants me to be able to say, “It is well with my soul” no matter what my circumstances are, or what difficult challenges I am facing.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s amazing love. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, God will fill each of us with hope, joy, and peace, because we trust in Him. Let’s embrace these words from Scripture so that we can all say with confidence, “It is well with my soul.”
Be blessed, my friends.