What do you do with the pieces you have left from this brokenness? What do you do with what is left over after everything you had planned has fallen apart?
It feels like life will never be okay again. It feels like this can never work out. It feels like you will always be hopeless, you will always be lost, you will always be a mess. But, honey, do you think God, in all of his wisdom and power, ever planned for you to spend the rest of your days in pieces? Although it may not look like it and it may not feel like it today, God was fully aware of today’s circumstances when he promised, “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you hope and a future.”
What are those plans? I don’t know exactly. But I do know they are plans to use every single thing the enemy intended for harm as good now. Now, you may be asking, how is that even possible? How can this harm be used for something good? This hardship? These ashes? How can it ever be beautiful?
Well, honey, it’s the same way God knit you together in your mother’s womb. He did impossible things bringing all the pieces of you perfectly together. He started with 1 microscopic cell, and divided it to create you with 100 trillion cells. Every day God creates 300 million new cells within you. In one day, the blood pumping through your veins travels 12,000 miles. He created you with lungs that have a surface area the size of a tennis court, so delicately folded within your chest to receive His breath, giving you life. Within 3 months of God beginning to form you in your mother’s womb, he had already given you distinctive fingerprints, setting you apart from every other human ever to live.
Trillions of cells, thousands of miles of blood vessels, miraculous lungs and individual fingerprints … all these pieces he used to create you. And if God put you together in the first place, don’t you think he can put you together perfectly once again?
He did it once, he will do it now.
I can’t understand how God knits a baby together with such perfection, so why would I ever believe my understanding is required for him to put our broken pieces back together today? God will do what only God can do, and he will do it in a way only he can determine, only he can see, and only he can fathom.
And just like miraculously one day that baby is fully formed and is born into this world, one day, our pieces are put back together and we walk healed, restored, renewed, and whole once again. What I’m saying is, Sis, trust him with these pieces. Trust him with what has been broken here. Trust him with all that has fallen apart. Trust him with this massive mess. Trust him with this heart ache. His hands are capable. His hands a strong. His hands are to be trusted.
When he knit you together the first time, he knew he would be knitting you back together after this too. He’s prepared for this healing work.
This morning I received a text from my dear BIG Life sister, Nicky. She’s the one who lost her 38 year old husband in a work accident a few weeks ago. The one left holding a whole lot of broken pieces that look and feel like they will never be put back together again. In her text, she asked me if I knew the story behind the old church song “It Is Well With My Soul”. She said, “it’s a song based on tragedy and clinging to faith within.”
I’ve known the story for many years, but it seems it’s time to talk about it again.
Growing up, I went to church only on Easter. I remember each year sitting by my grandma and hearing her sing this song. She knew the words by heart, and I could sense she felt them. She was a woman who had experienced hardship and tragedy, yet she clung to her faith.
Horatio Spafford wrote the words my grandma sang. The words so many of us have sang, without understanding the full story behind them. You see, Horatio Spafford knew about life’s unexpected challenges and hardships. He was an attorney and real estate investor with much success. Then he lost a fortune in the great Chicago fire of 1871. Shortly after the fire that took all he had worked hard for, he lost his 4 year old son to scarlet fever.
Imagine the heartache. Imagine the pain. His family was aching. He decided a change in scenery would do his family some good, so he sent his wife and 4 daughters on a ship to England, and he planned to join them after taking care of business at home. However, his family never made it to England. While crossing the Atlantic ocean, the ship sank.
All 4 of Horatio’s precious daughters were lost. His wife survived, and sent a telegram with the news that said “Saved alone. What shall I do?”
Gosh, isn’t that a question we ask sometimes. What are we supposed to do now? What do we do with this mess? How will these broken pieces ever become something whole again? Well, I don’t know how Sis, but I know the one who knit you together the first time fully intends to knit you together again.
After receiving the telegram, Horatio set sail for England. When passing the site of the tragedy where the ship had sunk and his daughters were lost, Horatio wrote these words.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll –
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to know
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Those words became the song many of us grew up singing. And they are the words God uses today to remind us whatever has come your way, he will also bring peace like a river, and somehow, someway, he is going to make this well with your soul. He is going to knit you back together again. He is going to use this harm for good.
I can’t imagine the kind of faith it requires for a man who has lost his fortune and his business, his little boy and all 4 daughters, in such a short time, to somehow say “it is well with my soul”, but I know that’s the kind of faith I want. And that’s the kind of faith God is growing within each of us as his Spirit dwells in us.
For Horatio to write these words on a ship, sailing over the very spot in the Atlantic where his family’s ship had sank, he had to know God’s word. He had to know God’s promises to him. These truths had gotten down deep into his soul. How do I know? Because the words he wrote were scriptural.
“When peace like a river, attendth my way.” Horatio knew Isaiah 66:12 “For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace … like a river.”
“When sorrows like sea billows roll.” He understood Psalm 42:7 “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”
“Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to know” Horatio was living out James 1: 2-4 “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
“It is well, it is well with my soul.” He was clinging to the promise of Philippians 4: 6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
This was a man who had lost everything, but within him were the promises of God. These truths are what flowed from him when life had been crushed from him.
Sis, if life hasn’t knocked you down yet, it will. We will all experience loss. No one gets out of this without tragedy. The one thing you need is God’s promises inside of you, so when the cuts come and when the crushing happens, truth flows from you.
Only a man who had God’s word within him could have written “It Is Well With My Soul.” And Sis, the only way you get through what you are going through, is to have God’s word inside of you.
You don’t just come here for your Holy Pep Talk to get you excited about a new day of life, you come here for a fresh deposit of God’s word. You’re going to need it, if you don’t already.
It reminds me of the poem my grandma used to read to me from her blue book of nursery rhymes.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses, and all the kings men,
Couldn’t put Humpty back together again.
Nope, we can’t put you back together again. I can’t put myself back together again. No one can do this but our Creator. The one who put us together the first time. We all fall. God is the one who puts us back together.
You need to know the God who knit you together perfectly once, has every intention of putting you back together again. These pieces will be picked up. That hurt will be healed. Your story will be complete. You will smile and laugh again. The pain won’t always be prominent. Life will grow around this hurt, and while the hurt won’t get smaller, your life will grow bigger.
Peace like a river will flow around you, and whatever has come your way, God will make it well with your soul again. You are being knit together again so perfectly. Maybe you just don’t see it yet.