Gilda Radner developed a very funny character named Rosanne Roseannadanna. She would go off on ridiculous tangents (not unlike this space on occasion) and then defend herself to colleague Jane Curtain.
“Well Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something!”
Yesterday was one of those “it’s always something” days. The day started with the unexpected and untimely demise of my computer’s hard drive. I spent my morning trying to revive it. That was a lovely start to the day.
Last night my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes lost (again) in the BCS National Championship game. Earlier in my life journey those two events would have sent me into a multiple day funk of bad moods and bad manners.
This morning I am not depressed. I wish my hard drive had lived a longer life. It would have been fun if Ohio State had won. But this season of my life is shaped by one very big word.
One year ago on this date we were getting ready for my Mom’s funeral. My bride was in the middle of her battle with breast cancer. Our friend Susan Flickner was only days away from going to be with Jesus. I wrote these words almost exactly one year ago.
I reflected on a difficult year past and a difficult start to the new one. For some reason a favorite old hymn came to mind. This is a song that has an amazing story. A song born out of tragedy and soul crushing grief. Horatio Spafford was a real estate investor in Chicago in the nineteenth century. His first tragedy was losing nearly all his wealth in the Great Chicago fire in 1871. Spafford was a friend of famed preacher D.L.Moody and the ministry of the great evangelist helped him to recover. Two years later, knowing that Moody was going to speak in England, Spafford decided to take the family there. At the last minute a business conflict delayed Horatio’s trip so he sent his wife and four daughters ahead.
On November 21, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the S.S. Ville Du Havre, the ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and two hundred and twenty six people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. Somehow his wife, Anna, survived. On arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Horatio with the words “Saved alone”.
Can you imagine the devastation that Spafford felt? There was no internet or phones to comfort his wife. No direct plane flights to get there in hours. Horatio could only book his own ocean passage that would, ironically, pass the spot where his daughters had perished. It was in the Mid-Atlantic that Horatio Spafford penned the words to the song “It is Well with my Soul”. Imagine his anguish as you read these words.
When peace, like a river,
attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to know,
“It is well, it is well with my soul”
Chorus: It is well (it is well)
with my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
So as I face this tough patch of highway I remembered the words of Horatio Spafford.
“Whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to know,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”
And that has been a comfort through the sadness of last year and has become my anchor for little speed bumps on life’s highway like the ones that happened yesterday. An unknown author once wrote that we have no right to ask when trouble comes, “”Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way. The man of many sorrows, Job, once said a very similar thing in the midst of his inconceivable grief.
His wife said, “Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!” He told her, “You’re talking like an empty-headed fool. We take the good days from God—why not also the bad days?” Job 2 The Message
I am pretty sure that I would not phrase it quite that way to the lovely Mrs.Burchett. But his rationale was right on. We accept so many blessings and good days as our birth rite. Jesus never promised that there would be no bad days.
So armed with a perspective that I didn’t really sign up for I weathered yesterday okay. I am still proud to be an Ohio State fan. I am proud of Coach Jim Tressel, his integrity and his steadfast faith in Christ. I am proud of the players who worked so hard to get there. Don’t let the guys who can’t jump off the couch without pulling a muscle get you down. You have accomplished so much. Hold your head high today.
My hard drive may or may not be healed. I can deal with that. Because my wife is at my side and feeling good as I begin this year. And it is well with my soul.