Mom called from Tulsa yesterday to say, “Please pray, tornadoes are heavy in the area.”

I lived in Oklahoma for 19 years and know “tornado alley” well.  With our son Jordan, my parents, sister and family, and most my best friends still living there, we immediately went to prayer for safety and protection.

Who else but the God of the winds and waves can you pray to in times like these?  This same God is tending hearts this morning through all the devastation.  Still, who can understand outcomes that leave dozens dead and thousands grieving?

Ron says, “God’s Sovereignty trumps our prayers of faith,” and in this I find comfort, that HIS Sovereignty and nature of being all good, all compassionate, all loving, prevails.  Still, so much grief.

In my own times of grief I’ve sung the great hymn, “It is Well With My Soul,” which was written after traumatic events in Horatio Spafford’s life. The first was the 1871 Great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago which was decimated by the great fire). His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873 at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family by ship In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone . . .”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom, their only son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died at the age of four, of scarlet fever. A year later the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Israel. In Jersusalem they helped found a group whose mission was to serve the poor.

The words of this hymn are so fitting for today.  I’ve sung it for years but had not heard all these verses, they are rich, filled with truth.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for 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!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!

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