January 18, 2022
Happy Birthday Dad!
Oncologist came by. Her fever went up and down all night. He says she has an infection and they are dealing with it with heavy antibiotics. He said her white blood count is .3 it needs to be at least 3! He said she will have to have a blood infusion. He said coming was the only thing to do, and admitting has to happen because of the low white blood count. She will be here at least till tomorrow.
IT IS WELL…Peace
After being ruined financially, losing his son to sickness and 4 daughters in a shipwreck, Horatio Spafford wrote the timeless lyrics to It is Well. His words resonated among believers around the world and soon appeared in many different denominational hymnals and a wide variety of traditions. His words still captivate us today whenever we experience the peace of God that floods our minds and hearts while going through difficulty.
Our current trial is not unique. It is not special or rare. It is not like winning the lottery or hitting the jackpot. Suffering and desease happens everyday to thousands of unsuspecting people. Millions of humans over centuries have suffered with illness, pain, and uncertainty. Being human is to experience heartache, loss, anxiety, depression, fear, and pain. We live in extremes because, being human is also to experience joy, laughter, happiness, and adventure.
What is less common is to find peace in a storm, calm in a whirlwind, light in the dark. Horatio said “when peace like a river attendeth my way…” (attendeth is simply a verb that means to attend or show up). Peace comes supernaturally and unexpectedly when facing life’s most difficult challenges. Peace is more than calm. Peace is supernatural awareness that something bigger than ourselves is happening. That there is some cosmic plan in motion. That somehow, in the middle of pain, God is there.
Paul describes it as “peace that passes understanding.” It doesn’t make sense – It seems out of place. It’s surprising. It’s abnormal to experience calm in the middle of suffering. Horatio says that he was taught to say “it is well”.
Peace is the promise of the presence of God. It seems to be the promise that in spite of the billowing waves around us, all will be well. It seems foolish right? Or does it make the most sense? There is nothing we can really control in life. At times, we are not even in control of our attitudes. Peace is that presence that overcomes us and is out of our control. It is peace that God attends to us. It’s peace that He gives us.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”Isaiah 26:3-4
Here is the pivot – “He will keep in perfect peace”. It is not something to work for, reach out for or attain – it is up to Him to give it. What Isaiah does say is to “Trust”. To fix our thoughts on Him. Always trust Him. Trust that He is immovable. Trust that He is the Rock. It looks like peace is “attended” as we trust that He is trustworthy. When everything is out of control, trust that He is in control.
Here are a couple of questions to help us put this into context:
Is there peace in your marriage relationship? It all depends on the trust you have for one another.
Is there peace with your coworkers? It all depends on how you trust one another.
Is there peace with your kids? Is there trust?
How about peace with your boss? What’s the trust level between you?
Peace is a result of trust. Trusting that God knows what He’s doing and has a plan. Peace is crazy and doesn’t make sense, but so is trusting. It takes a lot to trust someone. It takes time, a track record, and practice.
Over the past 2 weeks, we have been thrust into a storm. More like a hurricane with an earthquake and a meteor shower. It has tested our trust. It has pushed up against all of our beliefs. It has shaken our foundations. Humanly speaking, it’s too much. And yet… peace.
In December, I (Ray) was struggling to find direction for 2022. It’s usually very visible and God gives me a clear path. I’m a dreamer so I never come up short with inspiration and ideas. But this time it was different. I was looking ahead and all I saw was haze. Like a cloud was covering the horizon and I couldn’t get a view of what was coming. I prayed, fasted, and only heard “trust me”. I said, “I do”. Peace.
I have lived a life of adventure. I have lived a life of joy and suffering. All the while I have learned to trust Jesus. I have learned to lean in and let go. This does not mean that this is easy or enjoyable. Actually, the exact opposite is true. I pray that God heals Kristi, eases her pain, minimizes her suffering – and yet I trust. I get worried for her. I worry for our kids. I worry about life without her – and yet, I trust.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8
Can I give you some advise? Would you begin trusting God? Would you take some steps toward testing His trustworthiness? Would you experience His total control? What Kristi and I have learned is that life is so unpredictable and we never see pain coming, but all the while, His perfect peace invades our hearts and minds because we trust Him. And that does not change now – more than ever!
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 with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come. Let this blest assurance control. That Christ has regarded my helpless estate. And has 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 the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O 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