Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Saved Alone

Those two words.

"Saved alone."

Two words full of heartache and pain.  Relaying a story of tragedy and loss.

These are the words that Horatio Spafford, a man who had experienced extensive loss and tragedy already, received from his wife after the ship she and his four daughters had been traveling on was sunk after colliding with another vessel.

When I think of the tragic loss this husband and father suffered, my mind can't help but go to my own girls.  What would I do?  How would I go on?  How could I continue to draw breath on this earth when they were not with me?  My heart aches just thinking about it.

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.

But this man speaks of peace!  That is the glory of God's grace in action.  Spafford can write these words with the assurance that he will meet his children again in the presence of the Almighty God.  While the pain and ache of loss will never fully go away as long as we are here on earth, separated from our loved ones who have passed on, Spafford reminds us that our time here is only temporary.  This is not our final destination.

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.

I love how he clearly recognizes the source of much of our trouble.  The enemy is at work in this world and it is important we recognize his attacks for just what they are.  But we have the best Defender on our side.  Christ has seen our helplessness in the face of the enemy and He intercedes on our behalf.  He shed His blood for our salvation.

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.

Spafford clearly has an eternal perspective.  He has focused his heart and soul on an eternity with Christ and his beloved family.  He rests on the promise of a final home in Heaven and realizes that his time here on this earth is only temporary.
One of the challenges I have had with handling my chronic illness is the "chronic" part.  I have found that I can handle almost anything if there is an end in sight, a proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel".  The fact that there is no cure for my illness, no end in sight, no final treatment, has helped me with finding an eternal perspective.  The end of my illness will likely come when I go home to Heaven.  This is not a gloom and doom mentality.  Death is a part of life, it is not an ending, it is a beginning and I will welcome it when God is ready to bring me home.