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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It IS Well...

Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God." Jeremiah 42:6

This song, It Is Well by Bethel, has been haunting me, following me ever since I first heard it. It seems that it is synonymous with the plague or trials that have been stalking me in excess of 12 years now, one after the other. Up to this point, I have learned the Truth in bits and pieces and it was very much visible to others with my actions and reactions. The original version by Horatio G. Spafford speaks so clearly the verse that tells us to give "sacrifice of praise". In an article I found while trying to make sure this song wasn't watered down, the author speaks of Mr. Spafford's continuous struggles. Starting with the death of his son and ending with the death of his three daughters, financial ruin and a captain of a ship that thought he should know that they were moving over the very spot where his daughter's had died. (By Tina Truelove, It Is Well With My Soul, the Story Behind The Hymn) How crazy is that? How do you lose your children, your fortune, virtually everything you have yet make such a powerful hymn? Because he knew Who held his future, Who was in control. He epitomized the very first chapter of Job because it truly was, no matter what was surrounding him, well with his soul. Out of pain and anguish, loss and brokenness birthed this powerful song.

When I first surrendered my life, asked Jesus into my heart, knew that my life was a mess and only He could fix it; however you want to say it, it was out of a week filled with sleeping around with depression and suicide, swimming in festering pity and surrounded by greed, hatred and intense anger. The very moment I heard His voice, I knew I needed Him so much more than I needed this life I tried to keep with a man who did not want to be kept, but wanted to keep me to himself. I can say that it was NOT well with my soul though I tried to make it seem that way to everyone else and myself.

But my journey was a typical one of faith. I did begin to seek Him, I did begin to hear from Him and even though decisions at that time concerning my life, family and even church were by far the craziest, I knew that was the way He had directed me to go. My issue is that I thought it was because that was His will for me. But that would mean He wanted depression, struggling, poverty, brokenness and strife for me. His Word says the contrary. Now that I look back, He was directing me in what has been the longest, hardest desert I have been in yet, not to punish me but to grow me. There are flowers that distinctly grow in the desert amidst all the sand, scorching sun and dry land. They survive the scorching sun, the dry land with barely or no water yet they grow into some of the most beautiful flowers I have seen. In researching these flowers, I found out that there are those flowers that are only pretty to look at, those with either medicinal purposes or smell good and those that have both medicinal purposes AND very fragrant. I am wondering which we all are. ALL of us will go through a desert season, but how we come out, or bloom, is what makes the difference between a bitter, pungent smelling flower or a fragrant one that can bring healing to others.

One thing I do know about seeds and flowers is that it comes at the price of another flower. Seeds are not just planted by us self seeking humans who believe life only happens if we make it.  Whether a bees pollinates another flower or it wither and dies to release its seeds, life begins there. What we see is the aftermath of many dark days, many grueling nights for the seed as germination begins. Much like pregnancy when the egg is fertilized and growing begins on the outside. We as women can feel sick, we have mood swings during pregnancy, we ache, we itch, and we begin to see our body do things we never thought possible or said it wouldn't. We, and the seed underground, are stretched beyond reason, but not too far. God promises that we will not be given what we cannot bear (1 Cor 10:13), no temptation will overcome us. This simply means that HE already knows what we can bear, not by our understanding but by His standards. He knows that we can do it, that we can handle it, even when it feels like we can't. But at the end of the pregnancy, at the end of the time allotted for the flower to bloom there is beauty. Did you catch that? I just did! AT. THE. END. Now don't take a deep breath and say finally, no more struggles. Jesus warned us that there would be "in this life", in our lifetime but that we should take heart because He already won the battle for us! A pastor that I listen and learn from frequently said in a recent message, "we don't fight for victory, we fight FROM victory." -Pastor Paul Sheppard, There's an App For That. How freeing is that!

Today, it is well with my soul. I can say that honestly. I can also say I am blessed beyond measure (Ephesians 3:20). Not because of what I have or what has happened or my healing or even how great my life is at this moment. No, I'm still broke; I'm still without a house of my own or vehicle. I still don't know where all the money I needed within a few weeks span for bills and graduation will come but what I do know is that it is well with my soul. Why? Because my circumstances do not feed my soul, He does.... Is it really well with your soul today? Do a self check, take a few quiet minutes to assess how you act, react and take things in context. Do a soul check because you saying the right thing, doing the right thing or going the right way doesn't feed your soul, being in His Word, allowing Holy Spirit to check you every once in a while and surrendering does. What seeds are planted in you during your desert season and bloom?