We sang It Is Well at my grandma’s funeral. It was the day before Mother’s Day; the day after my grandpa’s birthday. It was a heavy day, but one with two hands lifted full of hope.
We sat in hard-backed pews in a small-town church called Maranatha (“Our Lord is Coming”). Dressed in black, we, my grandmother’s legacies, filled the church’s center aisle, pew after pew. The eight children of her own. Most of their children’s children. Some of their children’s children.
I couldn’t sing Amazing Grace. I wanted to, but my voice was lost- choked out by a lump in my throat. God, you are good. Your grace, it is amazing. But my voice is struggling to sing right now.
I let it be, listening to the other voices raising up in the church in solemn tones and wobbling sound. I listened to the preacher talk about my grandma’s life- Bible studies taught, children reared, a husband loved for over fifty years. They read her favorite Bible passages, and words of many mansions in the Father’s house filled the chapel.
Then it came: her favorite hymn.
When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll…
It was hard, but by the grace of God, I could sing this song. My voice rose and mingled with those of my family, a small choir of legacy and love, as though we had practiced the way it should sound. Full and rounded out. Heart-felt. In grief and weakness, but somehow strong and assured.
It is well with my soul. It is well. It is well with my soul.
Four months later, I found myself in a hotel conference room full of women redeemed by the Lord. I went in with my heavy and my hurt after a season of walking through difficult things. There He told me to rest and receive.
The last night of our gathering, we gathered to praise and to worship. The set list contained kisses from heaven, songs through which the Lord had already spoken to me throughout the year, played while He caught my tears, and used to settle my spirit and give comfort time and again.
Through it all, through it all – my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all, it is well…
Where at my grandma’s funeral we sang traditionally, piano keys pressed down in a practiced flow, here we sang a modern worship adaptation. Still, the words and the heart of the song remained.
Despite my hurt, despite my heavy – God, through it all, I am yours. And it is well with my soul.
As I sat on the floor, legs crossed over one another, I let the Lord do a work in me. I worshipped Him, holding out my heavy with open hands. Let me carry you – the words He whispered tenderly to my heart. In surrender, in trust, in relief, I sang:
It is well with my soul. It is well. It is well with my soul…
Six months later, I sat settled on my bedroom floor, looking out my window. That’s where we tend to meet, He and I. I had Spanish worship music playing and a song caught my attention…
Estoy bien. Gloria a Dios! Tengo paz en my ser – gloria a Dios!
It Is Well – a song written in the deep heartache and grief of a father who lost his family, now a humble battlecry for so many in their own pain. As I let myself translate the words and focus in, I realized the literal translation. It was so beautiful. Same heart. Same praise to our Father. Same surrender.
I am good. Glory to God! I have peace in my soul – glory to God!
And through it all, with eyes and heart fixed on Jesus, My God, My Savior… it is true. Though my circumstances ebb and flow, even when they are far from good, I am good in Jesus’ name. Glory to God can spring from my lips and dance in my heart because He is my hope, my peace, my very song.
I have peace in my soul because it is made new – and being continually renewed day by day – by the Prince of Peace. I can reach out my hand to His light and touch the power of His presence. He fills me with the fruit of His Spirit, with grace and the kindness that leads my heart to humble repentance, with steadfast and unyielding love that conquers and casts away all fear.
Yes, it is well with my soul.
I am good. Glory to God!