“Trusting when it costs.”

October 15, 2008

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to keep a blog when most of it is filled with words spoken or written by people other than myself … but as someone who is most encouraged by words, I can’t help but post words that have encouraged me, in hopes that it might encourage those who stop by here, too.

This is from an email that my pastor sent out today:

Many know the story. When in November of 1873 Horatio Spafford learned his four daughters had perished when their ocean liner, the S.S.Ville Du Havre, was rammed and sunk by the English vessel, Lochearn, out of a mixture of grief and hope he wrote one of the church’s most cherished hymns:

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.

Less well known are the words Spafford confided to a friend shortly after the tragedy:

I am glad to trust God when it costs me something.

Being a dad, it’s difficult for me to grasp, to imagine how a father could respond that way to such an unspeakable loss. I suppose in part the explanation is that God gives sufficient grace in the moment of need, not in advance. The other part must be this: Spafford’s faith in the crisis, his bulging bicep faith was so defined because he had developed it as a habit of life in the gym of everyday trials.

We sometimes wonder (I do): If this huge thing, this painful tragedy happened to me; if I lost this or suffered that, would I still trust God, could I thank Him for the privilege of trusting Him when it costs, when it really costs me something? The answer is literally in front of our faces: Are we trusting Him with the thing before us now?

(Pastor John Helveston, East Valley Church)


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