“Whoever believes in [God] will not be disappointed.” – Romans 10:11
I’m struggling to find things to say for this Lenten series. The focus is “It is well with my soul,” and yet I don’t think it is. Although the country seems to be moving forward and sneaking out of pandemic life little by little, I’m stuck. Even when I am out and about, isolation and quarantine seem to accompany me. They’ve set up housekeeping in the quaint little dungeon that laughingly calls itself my brain or, to be more biblical, my heart. I want to “return home to Jerusalem ” like our biblical forebears heading home from their time in Babylon, and yet I find myself more in the company of foreboding than with forbearing. Still, there is a difference between what I feel and what is – between fact and feeling. There’s a wilderness of the soul where I find this struggle taking place.
I think I spend too much time wanting to be positive and aglow. I don’t know that I can really appreciate when life gets good without also embracing the times when life is dark, dismal, creepy, or unwell. I am an evangelical – a proclaimer of “good news,” but how can one rise into the glory of God unless one has experienced the slow slide beneath the waves aboard a sinking ship – a stinking ship?
I can’t. And yet … and yet God is there; God is always there in the deep darkness, the pits of hell, the foreign lands, and the house of sorrows. God is there to pull us out – the first and greatest of First Responders. Ultimately, then, I do not despair. It may not be well with my soul today, but it will be at another time, and that’s all I need to know.
God, it is not always well with my soul, but it is always well with you. Grab ahold of me and never let me go, I pray; I thank you God on this and every day. Amen.
-Fr. Keith Axberg