One of my favorite sayings came from a song written in 1873 by Horatio Spafford. After Horatio io lost his only son to scarlet fever, a fortune in the Chicago fires, and the perils of the economic downturn. Horatio and his family booked a ship to England to assist with Moody’s revivals there. Horatio got called back to Chicago, and his wife and four daughters went on without him. All of his daughters died when their ship crashed, and only his wife survived. He experienced the utmost loss and tragedy while on his way to do something good. His account of the experience below will help and inspire you.
“On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down in mid-ocean, the water three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs, and there, before very long, shall we be too. In the meantime, thanks to God, we have an opportunity to serve and praise Him for His love and mercy to us and ours. I will praise Him while I have my being. May we each one arise, leave all, and follow Him.”(Horatio Spafford 1873)
We Have Choices
One key to courage, hope, and strength is to realize that we have choices when it comes to our feelings. Horatio had a decision to make when crossing the ocean where his daughters died. He could sink into depression, anger, self-pity (no one would blame him), or look to God for hope. His decision bore fruit that blesses me today, for out of those ashes case, the beauty of the song “It is Well With My Soul.”
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.Isaiah 61:3
We Have Assurance
The key to any strength that I have is faith. Horatio knew and clung to the fact that his children were safe and folded in the love of God and that he would see them again. That probably wasn’t his first response. I don’t know if he felt like praising until he put his mind, heart, and eyes upward. Looking up to God is the key to courage during fearful times, hope within hopelessness, and the power to make it through our trials.
We Need Only to Look Up
We have all the promises in the Bible, and we have help when we look to Him. When there’s no other help, we can find it when we look to Him. However, sometimes I plug through troubles and hard days and wonder why things are so rough. When I look back and take an honest inventory, I went ahead of God and didn’t look to Hom for help. God makes it easy and is as close as a look. We don’t have to have strong faith or be void of doubts, but God makes his grace reachable. If things are difficult for you today, look up, reach out to Him, and He will help.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.Psalm 121:1-2
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.