Looking in anticipation

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.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, 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 hath 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!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of 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.

I’m not having a very good week. I can relate to Paul speaking in Romans 7 when he says: “21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” I have the desire to have more patience with the six pack, speak more kindly to them and understand that they, like me, are works in progress. But then I lose my temper and do exactly the opposite of what I want. I wake up going over my to-do list and purposing to get so many things done through the day and be uber productive, but then somehow the day is gone and the list remains undone. I struggle with organization, self control, you name it. With starting a new school year this week (on top of battling some kind of sickness that has at least 4 of us in its throes), I feel even more ill-prepared than ever. My desk is a mess, but really just reflects what my head feels like, and I have less and less time before everything begins in earnest and time is at even more of a premium. I can feel my blood pressure and anxiety levels rising just thinking about it.

And yet….this morning I can’t get a hymn out of my head. It keeps coming to mind, and in spite of myself and my situation, I’m singing along. “It is well…..with my soul….It is well, it is well, with my soul!” At first, in all honesty, the song irritated me and I was thinking, “Um, NO, it is most certainly not well with my soul, thank you very much!” But it keeps coming back. And then, little by little, my heart began to soften. (I am so dense sometimes and it really takes a lot to get me to hear, but I’m thankful that God reveals true patience with the way He deals with me.) It can be well with my soul. The things I’m struggling with today or any day aren’t new struggles, nor are they unique to me. Can any of us say we are always patient, always self-controlled, always showing off our fruit? I can’t do anything apart from Him, and I’m guessing that maybe that’s the first part of the lesson I’m supposed to learn. I can’t possibly teach my children to rely on Him if I’m trying to do everything myself (although I can see how the negative example can be a powerful teacher in some instances! “Holy cow!” you might hear my kids say. “Mom needs Jesus!”) My heavenly Father is everything I’m not in a parent: willing to teach me the things I need repeatedly, even though I’ve heard it a gazillion times before.

So as I sit here with the house still a mess, the laundry in need of washing, the classroom in the midst of only our third day of the school year, I received my own lesson this morning. Though the sorrows may be rolling like the sea, I can live like it is well with my soul, maybe even before I feel like it is well with my soul. I’m not alone, and I’m not meant to go it alone, either. Whether he calms the storm or holds me close while it passes, I don’t have to do it by myself. Thank you, Father, for being patient with me and helping me in my ‘helpless estate.’ Help me extend that same grace to anyone I encounter today–especially the ones who have to live with me.


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