Daily Worship

It is well

July 28, 2020 2
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Image credit: Unsplash

Psalm 128 (NRSVA)

1 Happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways.
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands;
    you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
4 Thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

5 The Lord bless you from Zion.
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life.
6 May you see your children’s children.
    Peace be upon Israel!

It’s been a strange time for families over the last few months. Some of us have seen less of our families than we would like and others, perhaps, more than we would like. The family picture in this psalm is serene and blessed, and I do know some families who have really appreciated the extra time together which lockdown has brought. However I suspect the reality for most parents has involved trying not to strangle their little ‘olive shoots’ as they have juggled home schooling, Zoom conference calls, employment anxiety, video calls to their own parents; teenage angst; nerve wracking supermarket runs, and the effects of being together 24/7.

If that’s what you have been going through, chirpy pictures like the ones in Psalm 128 start to look like the social media posts of those who seem to have it all together. Meanwhile you are doing everything you can to get things right, to ‘fear the Lord and walk in his ways’, and yet your camera backdrop looks like a war zone. 

It’s not easy to believe the promise that ‘all shall go well with you’ when the daily evidence of your life seems to contradict this.

A few weeks ago in our online service, our vocal ensemble sang Horatio Spafford’s ‘It is well with my soul’. In 1871 Spafford’s 4 year old son died, and he was financially ruined by the Great Fire of Chicago. In 1873 he sent his family ahead of him on a trip to Europe while he dealt with some of his consequent business difficulties. Their ship sank after a collision with another vessel and all four of his daughters were lost. His wife survived and sent him the telegram, ‘Saved alone…’ He travelled to meet his grieving wife and was inspired to write the hymn while passing near where his daughters died. “ 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.”

Psalm 128 isn't a curated social media post, designed to raise unrealistic expectations. It is an act of trust and a beacon of hope.

PRAYER:

On days of light
It is well with my soul
In nights of darkness
It is well with my soul 

Whether I crest the wave or go under it
It is well with my soul 
Whether my family is fruitful or frustrating
It is well with my soul 

In triumph or in disaster
It is well with my soul 
If you are with me
It is well, it is well, with my soul.