Tears filled my eyes yesterday as I raised my arms in worship and declared the truths of the hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul.” Because it is. It finally is.
Six years ago, it wasn’t, and I wasn’t sure it ever would be again. Six years ago at this exact time, my marriage had fallen apart. My husband was gone, and I was begging God to bring him back.
Six years ago today, my soul was struggling to believe that the God who is love still loved me, and my soul was trying to make sense of a God whose plans to prosper and not harm me included a devastating separation and divorce.
My faith was battling my sight, and my emotions were clouding my belief.
Every day I had to remind myself that God had not forsaken me, and every day I had to tell myself to praise him despite how I felt. Some days I succeeded, and some days I failed. When you’re in the midst of a storm, your faith becomes more than a mere profession of words. It becomes a lifeline to keep you alive. When sorrows like sea billows roll, it’s easy to drown. Some days I felt like I would.
The strange thing about those days, though, is that while they were the worst of my life, they were also unbelievably sweet. They were agonizing, yes, but they also ushered me directly into the arms of my Father. I had never known God to be so near, and I had never been as convinced that He would take care of me. I doubted and I questioned, but I trusted and I believed. Those days were a paradox I’m not sure I can explain.
Six years later, it really is well with my soul. Not because God brought my husband back. He didn’t. Not because He’s taken all my pain. He hasn’t. But because I know whom I have believed.
I thanked God yesterday for my divorce because it is what He used to make my faith real. My divorce is what proved to me the goodness of my God, and my devastation is what taught me He is trustworthy in it all.
It’s easy to thank God when all is well, and it’s no sacrifice to praise when life is simple. But I’ve learned that untested faith is often no faith at all. As we sang “It Is Well” in church yesterday, I wondered how many of us truly believed the words we sang. I wondered if our words were empty recitations or bold declarations.
I don’t wish divorce on you, and I pray you are protected from life’s worst tragedy. But I have learned to be thankful for mine because I have seen how God used even it. He wastes nothing.
Today, I can sing – and really mean – “through the storm I am held.” Because I was.
I love the lines, “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.” Thou hast taught. Wellness in our souls is not a natural state; it is learned through our lot. It is taught through our troubles.
So today, like yesterday, I will give thanks for what God has done. I will praise him for how He proved himself true, and I will lift my arms and declare, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”
This article originally appeared at JennieGScott.com.