I came across an article titled “It Is Well With My Soul”, and it reads as followed;
“One of the best-loved hymns of the faith, “It Is Well with My Soul,” was written by Horatio Spafford. Mr. Spafford, a wealthy businessman in Chicago, lost much of his real estate holdings in the Great Chicago Fire. After the fire, he sent his wife and four daughters on a ship to Europe, intending to join them later, for a time of rest as well as to assist Moody and Sankey with a revival in Great Britain. But the voyage was struck by disaster, and Spafford received a cable from his wife with the painful message, “Saved alone.”
Spafford quickly made arrangements to join his wife. When they reached the spot where his daughters had drowned, Spafford marked that sad event with words of hope: “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.’”
The article concludes with the following;
“These powerful words written in the midst of such pain are a reminder to us today that, even though we may be enduring great suffering and hardship, it is not the end of God’s plan for us. Sometimes God’s children get discouraged because it appears that life is going better for those who are doing wrong. Yet the end result of both paths is already settled. Those who fear God will be able to say, “It is well.” Those who oppose God will quickly find that the end of their path is death and destruction. Keeping the end result in mind helps us keep doing right.”
It will be six months, on the 29th of January, when my wife and I lost our daughter, Leah Grace, to a rare medical condition after she was born. The dreams and anticipation of raising our daughter were quickly crushed. Our joy turned into sorrow; our excitement turned into pain; Our answers turned into questions. All of us have suffered pain at some point in our life. Whether it is the pain of losing a job, the pain of a broken friendship, or watching someone you love take their final breathes. Maybe, in the midst of your pain and suffering you are wondering, “How can I get through this?” or you might be saying “Where are you God?!” Psalm 42 provides us wisdom on how we can praise the Lord, even in the midst of pain.
Expression of Pain:
David was considered a man after God’s own heart (1st Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22). In this particular Psalm, with the help of the sons of Korah, we see David desperately seeking the heart of the Lord by sharing his heart. David doesn’t hide his emotions. He is in pain. Look at verses 1 and 2.
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”-Psalm 42:1-2 NLT
David opens up by saying “Hey! I’m in pain! Agonizing pain!” Too often I believe we as Christians do a terrible job of sharing our pain. We have bought into this idea that when we come through the church doors that we need to pretend everything is okay. The most frequent lie we tend to say is “I’m good” when deep down inside we are hurting.
As a reader, maybe you are in the midst of pain and you can no longer hide it. You are desperately wondering where you can find relief. David reveals to us where true relief comes from. Look at verse 2 again.
“I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”-Psalm 42:2a NLT
True relief for our pain comes from the Lord Jesus Christ because He is the living water that can remove or lighten our pain.
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ ” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”-John 7:37-39 NLT
Oppression From The People and The Enemy
In the midst of David’s pain, we see that there are people adding on to his pain. Look at verse 3 and 9-10 of Psalm 42;
“Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”-Psalm 42:3 NLT
“O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”-Psalm 42:9-10
David has been in a spiral of grief and sorrow that he says the only thing he has eaten is his tears. He feels alone and forgotten, and to make matters worse, there are some who are adding to his misery. In the midst of our own pain, we can feel these emotions. There are times, people, and the enemy of lies, Satan, can make it worse.
How To Respond in the Midst of Pain
So how do we get through the pain, the oppression, and the lies? David provides three ways on how he was able to overcome.
1.) Remember the Lord:
“Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you—even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.”-Psalm 42:6 NLT
David remembers who the Lord is. We too can remember the goodness, love, and strength of Jesus Christ.
2.) Praise the Lord:
“I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.”-Psalm 42:7-8 NLT
When we remember who the Lord is, it makes it easier for us to praise Him for what He has and will do. I encourage you to find (or even write) biblically sound worship songs that you can singing and cry out to the Lord to.
3.) Hope in the Lord:
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!”-Psalm 42:11 NLT
Hope is an expectation of the fulfillment of something desired or promised. Our hope and promise is found in the works of Jesus Christ on the cross and His second coming to restore all things.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”-Revelation 21:1-9 NLT
Turn Your Eyes On Jesus Christ:
In the midst of our pain and suffering, it is easy for our eyes to be fixed on the circumstances around us. The apostle Paul encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”-2nd Corinthians 4:8-18 NLT
May we be encouraged to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of our pain and suffering by remembering who He is, praising His holy and wonderful name, and holding on to the hope of what has and will be done.
-Michael A. Kubus