II Kings 11:20 Then he [the child king] sat on the throne…so all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet…
II Chronicles 23:21 So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword.
Psalm 131:2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul…like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Matthew 8:23 Then He [Jesus] arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
There is a great hymn with the opening lines: “When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot I have taught myself to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.” I’ve read that these lines were penned by Horatio Spafford, a Christian man who was a successful lawyer and loving husband and father to a son and four daughters. Within the span of two years, his son died, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed most of his investments, and a trip meant to bring comfort to his family ended horribly when his four daughters were killed in a collision at sea while traveling with their mother to England. Spafford reportedly wrote the poem/prayer on his way to his grieving wife. Further reading revealed that Horatio and his wife, Anna, had three more children, one son who died at the age of four from disease, and two daughters who lived to adulthood. Horatio’s religious views were also persecuted to the point of separating from the Presbyterian Church. He and Anna became philanthropists to the people in Jerusalem, and their work continued by others was said to play a critical role in supporting those communities during and after World War I.
Can we really relate to the tragedy of others? Do we have the kind of faith that weathers storms that threaten to blow our preconceived notions about the goodness of God right out of the waters? Some days I think I’m doing all right holding onto the peace of God. Then circumstances cause another walk through the recent tragedy of my own life, retracing those steps to set up an estate account, to move my home again, to pick up her ashes…
Horatio wrote those opening lines as he crossed the same waters where his four daughters drowned. His wife wrote to him on that fateful day, “Saved alone.” Where does this strength come from? A faith and a peace that is no mere human effort, I think.
For in my own strength, I fall to pieces. In my Lord’s presence, I am held up. After 38 years of walking with Christ, I think I am just beginning to be like the weaned child – trusting that He will rise up and command the storms in my life to be still. Fearing not destruction. Believing the following:
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Peace to us all.