When things aren’t, well…well.

I’m writing today from a perspective of unrest and uneasiness and, to be honest, not from an “It Is Well” standpoint. Of course, that is until I surrender my sense of discomfort in those areas to God. If I sit here and reflect on yesterday, today, and most likely tomorrow’s bumps in the road, I will be hard-pressed to find joy on my own. It’s songs like “It Is Well” that remind me of where that sense of contentment and rest is found. It’s certainly not in myself.

This song is so good at redirecting the thoughts of discontent in our lives, because it’s so full of scriptural truth. I’m not one to bash artistic license(as long as it’s theology accurate) in song-writing, like many will say about a lot of newer christian tunes. In fact, I write a lot of songs that take a fair amount of artistic liberty, and I love singing along to many of the worship songs released today. However, songs like this, written so literally from direct scriptural passages, are extremely important for us to sing, to know, and to hold on to. This song holds the gospel in the lyrics.

Verse 1

“When Peace, like a river attendeth my way(Isaiah 66:12), When sorrows like sea billows roll(Psalm 42:7).

Whatever My lot, thou hast taught me to say, “It is well with my soul”(James 1:2-4).”

  • In Isaiah we read the peace of God referred to as a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream. This is a contrast to the destructive flood we read about in Genesis. This chapter in Isaiah is of hope found in God.
  • Psalms 42:7 is taken out of a chapter where the writer is clearly in a low state, where he is experiencing “mortal agony(v10), and acknowledges that God is allowing this to happen, yet he will stand firm in rejoicing.
  • James 1:2-4 tells us to “consider it pure joy” when we face trials. Why is that? Because perseverance through the trials(same word for temptations) brings us to a greater maturity and understanding of who we are as children of God. With maturity, comes wisdom, which provides practical insight and spiritual discernment. There is joy in that!

Verse 2

“Though Satan should buffet(see note), though trials should come, let this blessed assurance control.

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate(Romans5:6-7), and hath shed His own blood for my soul(Romans5:8).”

  • 1st, let’s look at “buffet”. This isn’t all-you-can eat, this is “buf’-et”, which is to treat with violence, to beat with a fist, or bodily maltreatment. This line can be read “Though Satan may attack, though trials should come….”
  • Romans 5:6-8 is a passage of hope for all. Despite the attacks of satan and temptations to sin in this world, we have hope and peace in knowing that while we were still sinners, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shed His blood for our iniquities.

Verse 3

“My sin, o, the bliss of this glorious though! My sin, not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, o my soul!(1 Peter 2:24)”

  • Many verses could be used for this verse, but 1 Peter 2:24 sums it up nicely, I believe. No matter the sin of our past, Christ took it upon himself to pay the price on the cross. This was done so that we may overcome death through the blood of Christ. Praise the Lord!

Verse 4

“And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight(1 Corinthians 13:12), the clouds be rolled back as a scroll(Mark 14:62).

The trump(not Donald) shall resound, and the Lord shall descend(1 Thessalonians 4:16). Even so, it is well with my soul.”

  • Paul explains to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 13:12, that until the day the Lord returns, our faith, no matter how great, will never produce for us a clear image of who God truly is. This can only happen in the new creation when the Lord returns. Can any of us deny deny the desire to “haste the day” when that is to happen? Not I!
  • Jesus says before the Sanhedrin in Mk 14:62, right before being condemned to death and beaten, ‘You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The people took it as blasphemy and beat(and ultimately killed) Jesus, but we claim it as truth.
  • There will be a day when the Lord, at the sound of a trumpet call and the voice of the archangel, will descend from Heaven, and those in Christ shall be with Him!

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