It’s amazing how you can look back at your life and see how God prepares you for things that he knows you’ll be going through in the future. Shortly after we lost our Sam, God brought back an offering message that I had given months before, not realizing how much the very point of that message would be tested in my life. I titled the offering message “Stubborn Faith” and told the story of the hymn, It Is Well.
Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer in the late 1800’s. In November 1873, his family was planning a trip to sail from the US to Europe. At the last minute, Mr. Spafford had to stay in the US to solve some problem that arose in his business. So his wife and four daughters boarded the ship without him and began to sail to Europe. The plan was for him to sail a few days later and join them then.
On their way to Europe, the ship that carried Mrs. Spafford and her four daughters hit another ship. The four daughters didn’t make it. Once Mrs. Spafford reached Europe, she sent a telegram to Horatio with the opening statement of “Saved alone..”.
Immediately Horatio boarded a ship to come join his wife. As they were sailing, the captain sent for Horatio and told him they were about to sail over the spot where his daughters died. I can just imagine him going to the rail of the ship, looking out over the waters that held his four daughters. Having lost a child myself, I know what was going through his mind. The grief. The pain. The pit of despair.
But you see, I believe Horatio knew something that I’ve come to know. That even if things don’t go as planned or the way we want, God is still good.
So as he was looking out onto the waters where his daughters died, these words came to him:
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
The faith that it took to look over the waters where his daughters died and still say “It is well with my soul” is what I call stubborn faith. A faith that looks directly at the circumstances in your life and says I know it hurts so much and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to walk through, but “It is well with my soul.”
A faith that can look at the sickness that is overtaking your life and say “It is well with my soul.”
A faith that can look at that bill that is months past due and say “It is well with my soul.”
A faith that can get up after a relationship has ended and say “It is well with my soul.”
A faith that can look at the casket that is holding your 4-year-old son and say “It is well with my soul.”
Because a stubborn faith knows not to look just at the circumstances surrounding you, but to also look at the One who surrounds those circumstances. The One who loves you more than anyone on earth will ever love you. The One who gave us everything so that we could spend forever with him.
A stubborn faith refuses to give up. Refuses to give in. And even though it might not make sense to everyone around you, a stubborn faith doesn’t care. Because a stubborn faith knows that when things are bad and darkness is all around you, that is not the end. God’s story doesn’t end in darkness.