Hi! Welcome back to the Disciplers blog. I’m glad you took time to stop by. The Thanksgiving meal is over, friends and family have headed home, and the hype of Black Friday is dying down as many look forward to Cyber Monday. It has been a busy time, and I pray that for you it has been a blessed time of thanksgiving with those you love and cherish.
I know that for one of my dear friends it has been a time of thankfulness for the things that many of us take so much for granted: things such as life itself, being able to breathe, and to speak a few words. My friend, Clint, spent Thanksgiving in a hospital room hooked up to a ventilator and a feeding tube. Many weeks ago, Clint was diagnosed with West Nile virus that had led to an inflammation of his brain and total paralysis of his body. The doctors prescribed IVIG treatment and after days of anxious waiting, Clint began to show tiny but hopeful signs of improvement. Now it is a time of patience, prayer, and hope as he continues to slowly gain strength and get better. He still cannot breathe on his own or eat, but he has some limited movement and can speak, quoting Scripture to encourage those who visit him. Some of the first words he shared with his precious wife, Nancy, were, “my body is broken but my soul is strong.”
Those words keep coming back to me. They keep passing through my thoughts and settling in my heart. This morning as I walked my dog, Luke, in my neighborhood, I was thinking of Clint and praying for him. The song, “It is Well with My Soul” kept coming to mind, and since there was no one around to hear, thinking of Clint, I sang it to the Lord.
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.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
(Horatrio Spafford, 1873)
It had been a rainy night and the clouds were just beginning to lift. As I sang and prayed for Clint, suddenly a beautiful rainbow appeared across the valley. To me it was an affirmation that God was hearing and honoring my prayers. I know that the One who is sovereign over the rainbow is also sovereign over our souls. Clint’s body is weak but God is powerful to heal. More importantly, Clint’s soul is well! His soul is healthy and strong and a boon to his body as he praises and glorifies God through reciting the Scriptures he has stored away in his heart and in his memory.
This Thanksgiving, one of the things I have been blessed to give thanks for is my physical health and strength. But, as Clint has shown me so clearly, much more important is the health of my soul! The soul is what sustains us in times of sickness, sorrow, satan’s buffetings, setbacks, and stumbling -- and the world is full of those things. So I would ask you today about the state of your soul. Can you say with assurance, “It is well with my soul?” It seems that so much time and money is spent on physical fitness and appearance these days. But how much time have you spent lately nurturing your soul? I think we too often get our priorities mixed up. I know I have at times. I want to encourage you today to pause and consider the condition of your soul. Think of Clint whose soul has been nurtured and strengthened through the years of his relationship with the Lord. How can you begin today to care for your soul and make sure it is well?
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.