Life here on earth is full of trials, tests, and tribulations. Of course, there are also many days of tranquility, contentment (if we have the right attitude), and joy. But without an intentionally positive perspective that focuses on God and His promise of a pain-free eternal life (Rev 21:4), we can easily become overwhelmed.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that we have been called according to His purpose. We have been divinely selected and appointed to do His will. We would do well to remember our place as created beings given the honor and privilege of serving the one true God. With a heavenly focus, we can rejoice over God’s promises that, “all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
When incomprehensible tribulations strike, we must look up and remember that even our most painful trials work together for our good. We don’t have to understand how they do but we must cling to our faith and trust in the goodness of God.
“Unless we purposely live with a view to the next world, we cannot make much out of our present existence.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon
Horatio Spafford understood and accepted the truth expressed in Spurgeon’s quote. In 1873, Spafford decided to take his entire family to Europe for a vacation, intending to also assist D.L. Moody in his evangelistic work once he arrived there. He was unexpectedly detained by urgent business concerns but decided to send his family aboard the S.S. Ville du Harve as scheduled. Midway through the trans-Atlantic voyage, the S.S. Ville du Harve was struck by another vessel and sank. Spafford’s four daughters were among the 226 who died. Mrs. Spafford, one of the few survivors, sent her husband a heartbreaking telegram: “Saved alone.”
This tragedy and deep heartache was the inspiration of Horatio Spafford’s beautiful hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. Spafford’s faith in God’s continual love has inspired and comforted many others thanks to his eternal focus and perspective.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV)
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well 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 hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for 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.
A pearl is formed when a grain of sand or a parasite becomes trapped within a clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.
Life is a gift. It is an opportunity to serve God while He transforms us into the image of His son, Jesus. The sanctification process is not painless. Because of sin, the blood of Christ covers us time and time again. And like a pearl, we will eventually shed the trappings of our old bodies and emerge in heaven with a lustrous new one.
Keep your focus on eternal things while you travel through this world. In so doing, God will transform your sorrows into beautiful things that comfort others and inspire them to carry on. Remember, “All things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)