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
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Composer Horatio Spafford was a businessman in Chicago. His businesses were partially destroyed by the Chicago fire of 1871. He had sent his wife Anna and four daughters to Europe aboard the SS Ville du Havre to Europe. He would join them later. The du Havre collided with another ship and within minutes, the ship slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.
A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and nine days later, they landed in Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, "Saved alone, what shall I do?" Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office. Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, "God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why."
Spafford took the next ship to join his grieving wife. About four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.
According to Bertha Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote "It Is Well With My Soul" while on this journey. Anna gave birth to three more children, one of whom died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford is buried in that city.
The word "soul" is mentioned often in the Bible. In our recent studies and messages from the pulpit, we have talked about living in the "spirit". Soul and spirit are sometimes used interchangeably and are close in their biblical meanings. However, soul can have to do with an individual person. The prophet Ezekiel declared that the soul (i.e., the person) who sins will surely die. Peter wrote that "eight souls" were saved by water in the days of Noah. "Spirit" usually refers to the nature of a non-material being. Christians think of the Spirit as something good, e.g., the Holy Spirit. But there are also evil spirits in our world. When we say we are "living in the Spirit", we are, of course, referring to the Holy Spirit. We serve a triune God - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to the disciples by Jesus at Pentecost to guide them throughout their lives.
Spafford's strength to deal with and emerge from the tragedy came from his faith. Like Job in the Bible, he placed his trust in
God during his life’s prosperity, but also during its calamities. A devout Christian who’d immersed himself in Scripture, many years of his life were joyous. But faith, no matter how great, does not spare us from adversity. It does, however, help us deal with it. The Holy Spirit is called the Advocate and Comforter. Never leave home without it.
From Pastor Sandra
Greetings New Hope Church Family & Friends!
June 30, 2013, was a milestone date in my life. It was the first Sunday as pastor at New Hope UMC. What an inspiring, thrilling, spiritually uplifting 5 years it has been. I have loved, yes, loved, every minute of planning, organizing, meeting, worshipping, emailing, texting – and all the many other activities we have experienced. Oh, yes there have been frustrating times, but that is a test of faith, too.
Can we ever forget my announcing, "Now is the time to present our offerings." And at that exact moment, John E. would walk in the sanctuary! Or Clarence asking, while a pause in the service during Advent, "What is that cow doing on the communion table?" Or the many times I have announced that Art and Sue would present special music, meaning Sara Jo! And Rev. Boyd saying, "No one needs to call a pastor at 4 am to tell them Aunt Mable has died, she’ll be just as dead at 8 o’clock." Then, Dear Justine picking up pecans from the tree near the Fellowship Hall. Let’s not forget the "O, Lordy" room, now the JLH Food Pantry. We have so many wonderful memories together as we gave new hope to New Hope! And, now New Hope is ready to spread its wings and fly to heights unknown!
As we know and faithfully believe, God Does have a Plan for our lives – it may not be the plan that we envisioned. And, that’s the position in which I find myself. My health issues cause me to no longer be the pastor at New Hope – which breaks my heart in two. Every one of you has a special section of my heart that is entirely yours for me to love.
I also find myself in the position of relocating to Texas to be near family, as we really do not know what the reasons for my health concerns nor what the treatment will be. I do not know when that relocation will take place, as I have a home and farm outside Bowman of which to dispose.
I will always be your pastor in my heart; you have given me inspiration and love to encourage my faith in human kindness and most especially in the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
My benediction: May God Bless you now and forever. Go in peace.