“Always winter but never Christmas.” This is how C.S. Lewis described the desolate land of Narnia in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” I feel that may be where we’re all caught right now.
Last night, my car had to be towed and you could look at it and know it wouldn’t be a cheap fix. Tonight, my wife has her second 12-hour shift at the hospital since she gave birth to our daughter; last shift our daughter decided to go on a hunger strike—literally screaming herself to sleep out of pure exhaustion. I’m at my limit.
Story after story in the news are about situations which break my heart, and they’re beginning to hit too close to home. Recently, my Facebook feed tells of lost loved ones, medical emergencies, and friends diagnosed with cancer.
Always winter but never Christmas. The valley of the shadow, undaunted and overwhelming.
As I thought about all of this today, I was reminded of the phrase, “When sorrows like sea billows roll…” It’s a line from the song, “It Is Well with My Soul,” written by Horatio Spafford after a series of several terrible events in his life. The first verse explains that in both situations of great peace and great sorrow, he has learned to say “It is well with my soul.”
Paul describes the same in Philippians 4:12 when he says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
The answer to this great secret can be found in the second verse of Spafford’s song:
Tho’ Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
Perhaps we should stop trying to avoid the pain, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, or fear, but rather acknowledge where that pain & fear stem from as we enter into this Passion week. Then, remember the ultimate price has already been paid by our Savior, and praise God with thankful hearts for He has seen us in our helplessness…
And rescued us
…giving strength to our weaknesses, our trials, and our suffering. So regardless of whether or not He may choose to deliver us from our particular situation, we too may be able to stand and say, “It is well with my soul.” Or echo the famous statement which Paul followed-up his explanation of contentment, above, by declaring:
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”