Happy Friday!! One more week to go, and we will usher in a new month, September. YAY!!
When I think of September, here in the PNW, it brings to mind cooler days and nights, the beginning of fall foliage, and students of all ages returning to school right after Labor day.
Even though it’s been awhile since I began a new school year, I still get excited at the thought of a fresh beginning. New teachers. New friends. New lessons to be learned and shared. And for me, beginnings feel like hope.
So today, we are beginning something new on this blog: every Friday will be dedicated to, Testimonies of Hope.
One thing that I can never get enough of is testimonies. I love to hear people’s stories of not only how God has changed them and what He has brought them through; but their personal stories of perseverance, hope, love, and courage. I believe it’s one reason God placed the tagline of my blog on my heart:
“Sharing the hope of Jesus one heaven sent story at a time.”
I remember, years ago, a conversation I had with my mom. I was getting ready to graduate high school, and I was worried about how difficult the transition would be. In my mind, I felt like I was that little fish, happy and content to swim in the small fishbowl on the counter. But soon, because I had outgrown my current domicile, I was going to be thrust into a 200 gallon aquarium! With bigger fish, and hidden caves….can anyone relate?! 🙂
All kidding aside, my mom just told me I was “moving up” to a bigger classroom, where I would still learn and grow and share in a bigger capacity. God, who was with me in my smaller classroom, would still be with me in my bigger classroom–the world.
I believe we are all still students–no matter what our age–and God still wants us to learn, grow, and share with Him as the Head teacher and all of us–the students– with each other.
I want to hear your testimonies of what God has done in your life because I find you fascinating and your story needs to be heard by others. Your hope is the hope of others because of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
And I want to share some personal testimonies of others and the way God transformed their sorrows to hope.
Each Friday, I will highlight a different person. Today, I’m going to focus on Horatio Spafford. Below is an excerpt from the website, “The History of the Spaffords Children’s Center,” about the testimony of this God-fearing man and his amazing family.
In 1871, Horatio Spafford, a prosperous lawyer and devout Christian, and his wife, Anna, were living comfortably with their four young daughters in Lake View, Chicago.
In that year the great fire broke out which devastated the entire city. For the next two years Horatio and Anna devoted their time to welfare work amongst the refugees of the fire.
By November 1873 the Spaffords needed some respite and decided to join friends in Europe but just before their departure Horatio was detained on business. Anna and their four daughters were persuaded to set off without him but en route tragedy struck. The steamship they were travelling on, the Ville du Havre, sank after colliding with another ship in mid-ocean.
Of the hundreds on board, Anna was one of only 27 who were rescued having been kept afloat by a piece of debris. Her daughters did not survive. Overcome with despair at the loss of her children, Anna felt strongly that she had been saved for a purpose.
In Chicago, Horatio received a tragic telegram from his wife: ‘Saved alone.’
Setting off to bring Anna home, he crossed the Atlantic and the watery grave of his four daughters. Moved by the experience he wrote a hymn, ‘IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL’, which expressed his faith. The hymn remains one of the most popular Christian hymns in the USA.
“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”
I love this hymn, so much, that the above words are written near the front page of my bible. Years ago, when I wrote them down, I did not know the story–the testimony– behind it. The depth of Horatio’s pain, mixed with the hope God was giving through His Spirit, encourages me in such a way that can ONLY come from Him. Consider this from Dr. Billy Graham:
“There can be comfort in sorrow because in the midst of mourning God gives us a song. God says in Job 30:9, “I am their song.” In Job 35:10 Elihu asks, “Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?” His presence in our lives changes our mourning into song, and that song is a song of comfort. Sometimes it must be night to have that song” (Unto the Hills devotional, 23 August).
We all have a “night” that God can transform into a beautiful song and testimony/story. What is He doing/working through in your life and how can you share that hope with others?
All the Glory to God,
Image of “Vinesong-It is well with my soul” by youtube.com
Image of “God heals-your daily bible verse” by 1160hope.com
Graham, Dr. Billy. “Unto the Hills: A Daily Devotional.” August 23rd. WORD Publishing. Print.
Spafford-Vester, Bertha. The Spafford Children’s Center. Web. August 23, 2019. http://www.spaffordcenter.org/history.