…because I might answer you honestly.
There is a standard American greeting, at least in the south, that goes something like this:
- How are you?
- I’m well, thank you. How are you?
- I am well.
I’ve pondered this greeting for some time, because we are not always honest in our answers. And unfortunately, my assignment is to be authentic. 😐
Last summer, events aligned in a unique way that caused me to relive/rehash/re-evaluate painful events in my life, dating back to when I was two years-old. This was brutal, and I suffered.
In September, our family experienced an unexpected death. We worked through grief, and had good days and bad days.
In November, I had a very bad day.
I’ve learned to be kind to myself in those situations. I plodded through the day, waiting for a break, when the strangest thing happened. I felt at my worst, but I felt something else, too, quite randomly, as I was driving, alone.
I felt God with me, in a real, almost physical way, and I was stunned.
I kept driving, for I was on a small, slow, just-about-empty street in our little town, but I froze, mentally, as realization, or peace, or stillness, or something settled over me. And I rested in it.
“You’re here with me, aren’t you?” I whispered into the stillness of my car.
There was no answer, but I felt the gentle comfort even stronger, almost like a warm hug.
As I continued my day, still languishing, I also continued to feel God’s presence, almost like He was walking with me, and I shook my head in wonder. I thought of the familiar scripture that says,
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”
Never before have I experienced this kind of thing, and not since, but I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. And there was a lesson for me.
You see, to go over some basics, I believe that God is real, and not just a fairy tale. This is something I’ve learned by study, but I’ve also experienced firsthand. He changed me, from the inside out, and I didn’t imagine it.
I live in here, so I should know.
I believe that the one God of the Bible exists in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit that I felt in the car, and as I went through my day. I received the Spirit, indwelling, when I became a Christian.
I believe that Jesus came to earth, lived the perfect life I could not live, and redeemed my soul by paying a debt I could never pay with his death and resurrection. By giving me His Spirit, and helping me find emotional healing in Him, I believe he also saved me from literal death, but that’s another story.
And I know all of this, cognitively, but when I’m suffering, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
But here’s the forest: no matter what my day or my life looks like, whether sunny or gray, whether wonderful or awful, whether I am euphoric or in the depths of despair, in the end, because of Jesus and His sacrifice, it is well with my soul.
Yes, again, I know this cognitively, but now, I know it experientially, and what a thing to treasure.
Thank You, Lord.
So the next time you see me and ask me how I am, I might just say, “You know what? It is well with my soul.”
And that will be the truth.
The story behind the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” can be read here.
A favorite modern rendition, sung this very morning in church:
(Okay, Lord. I’ll write the blog.)