Is It Well…With Your Soul? Or…Like Job…Are You Demanding Answers From a Holy God…
It’s Sunday in church service. My heart is breaking for those I love who are feeling tortured. In the harder moments, I ask why it had to be this way. Yet, at the same time that I cannot stop the tears, I can sing the words to this song and mean them. They are the truth! Underneath it all…IT IS well with my soul. God is at work. I know it. I trust His hand and yes…even though I do not and likely never will understand His plan…I trust His heart (His character and His love) and therefore His plan.
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul. It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blessed assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
He is faithful. His word says He is faithful. I have found Him to be faithful. He has no obligation to explain to me the blows that come my way…or into the lives of those I love.
Just as He did with Job, He will make a way. If I respond to the pain and pressure in the way He intends me to respond… if my loved ones respond the way He intends…His purposes will be brought about. On the other side of this very long journey, our lives will be forever changed. Actually, if we don’t respond…our lives will be forever changed.
Either way, change is coming. Will we cooperate and allow God to add more faith and more purpose and peace and joy to our lives? Or will we be willful and foolish and angry and become more broken, misdirected and useless?
His intent is to continue forming us in His likeness while we are on this earth. It isn’t His job to explain the way He is forming our character. We get it backwards and think He owes us an explanation. He owes us nothing. He has paid the ultimate price for our salvation…for our good and His glory.
What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
In today’s culture, we have become entitled. We think God is here to serve us…to make us happy. After all, as the old McDonald’s commercial and so many other not-so-subtle messages have taught us: “We deserve a break today!” We deserve…I deserve…I deserve…
God owes us nothing. Nothing! The chasm between who He is…His holiness and our depravity is so great that we all deserve to fall into that chasm and be completely and wholly separated from Him for eternity. We deserve to be separated from Him and anything holy and good. Yet…because He loves us with an unfathomable love…Jesus bridged that gap on the cross. He paid the price, he suffered the unspeakable agony for you…for me.
When we get it straight…when we spend the time and thought and prayer to take this in…our view of His place in our lives and our place in this life will drastically change.
We are each worth gold to Him…worth His life. How then, can we accuse Him of handling our lives, our hope, our reality carelessly, cruelly and without purpose? How then, can we angrily hang on to the questions about what He allows to come into our lives?
Not that we don’t have questions. Not that we aren’t allowed to ask the questions. But just as His ways are not our ways…His answers are not always going to be satisfying or available to our finite minds.
We walk by faith. When we know something of the character of our loving God…our questions won’t become demands and they are less likely to be fueled with anger.
Job 38:1-5 (ESV) 1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
There is so much more to this than just those verses! Read Chapters 38-41 and beyond!