"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."
I've heard this song ever since I was a little boy that went to church and begged to sit by my grandmother on the Mother's Board Bench. I can still hear my granny's sweet sweet voice sing and hum this hymn. Growing up I didn't understand the meaning behind the lyrics. I thought it was just poetry set to music. After experiencing some of life's most challenging moments, I now know that the song It Is Well is actually a command. Why is it a command? Because sometimes... if we are being honest, being well shouldn't even be an option (in the natural).
The song was originally written by Horatio Spafford. It was after several tragedies in his life. Horatio, under his circumstances, should have given up, but he didn't. Horatio lost his 4 year old son. It is unfathomable to imagine burying a child, but it's the harsh reality for so many people. Horatio also suffered from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This fire ruined his finances and led to a downward fall of his business. Horatio also lost 4 of his daughters at one time in a tragic accident in the Atlantic Ocean. I can't fathom his lost. He turned to Christ for comfort during the time of the tragedies.
I examine my own life. There are times when I get it right, and there are also times where I have just jacked it all the way up. It's life. We all have free will, and sometimes our "free will" isn't so free at all. It will ultimately cost us a price that we must be willing to pay. Back on topic... I think about those times that I literally feel absolutely lost. I think often about my journey with my mother as she fought Colon Cancer. I remember days of wanting to stop believing... I wanted things to change. It didn't seem like any of my wishes were being granted. Unfortunately, it still hurts.
The songwriter wrote, "whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say." That in itself is a whole movement. My lot is different than your lot, and your lot is different than your parents' lot. Everyone's lot is different from each other. The experiences and responses that we exhibit are based upon our level of understanding and the circumstances we endure. We should never place limitations on our lot before prayer. Horatio wrote, "thou hast taught me to say." That's a directive. It's a directive because it forces us to operate off of duty versus emotion. Our emotions are definitely real, but may not always be true.
My challenge to you is to adopt an "It Is Well" lifestyle. Look for the good in every situation even when it looks bad. I can't tell you any practical tips beyond, Trust God. It's the only advice that I have to give in this situation. I also can tell you that it will change your perspective on how you view things. It will even change the relationships that you have with others by fostering transparency and a total submission of control to God.