Sunday 3 July 2016

Sunday inspiration

Sunday morning. Time to think, to dream, to be inspired. 

There is an old Christian hymn - "It is well with my soul", written by Horatio G. Stafford, who was born in 1828, and lived on earth until 1888. The story behind the hymn is often-told, and you may know it, but I am going to paraphrase it here, because it will provide context for my post. 

Once upon a time the Stafford family lived in Chicago, attended a Presbyterian church, were friends with the Moody's and other evangelists of the time. In 1871, the Great Fire of Chicago started a chain of events that wiped out the family's investments. They kept the faith, and when there was an opportunity for a ministry trip to Europe, Mr Stafford thought to take his family - they all needed a break.

However, he was detained by business in Chicago, and when the time came to sail, he waved his wife and four daughters off on the SS Ville du Harve, planning to join them as soon as possible. Halfway across the Atlantic, their ship was struck by another vessel, and although Mrs Stafford miraculously survived, Tanetta, Maggie, Annie and Bessie all drowned as the ship sank in 12 minutes.

Mr. Stafford sailed across that same ocean to comfort his devastated wife, and at the approximate spot  where the accident had occurred, received such comfort from God, that he was able to pen the following words:

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."
If you are in a dark place today, and have lost friends, family, or even a little of yourself, know that exactly where you are is the place God loves to come and live with you. He brings light into our darkness, life from death.

The picture in my mind is of a grey stalk on a rose bush, that looks fragile enough to snap. In the bleak wintry day, buffeted by the frost and the wind, it looks ready to die, to give up. It is fragile enough to snap off and become compost. But God sees a tiny glimpse of green. A fresh new bud, that in time will burst forth with life and growth, a new beginning. And the seemingly dead stalk, because it held, will be the source of life for that bud, and that growth.

My prayer for you is that you will hold on, and hear the words of life that God is speaking into your heart today.

Psalm  46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble

Here's a post of the hymn, and a retelling of the story.

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