June 20, 2020 – It is Well with My Soul

Posted on June 23, 2020

Home Sermon June 20, 2020 – It is Well with My Soul

June 20, 2020 – It is Well with My Soul

Sometimes hymns can really speak to us.

Hymns can reach us at the soul level.

I love the old hymn:  When Peace like a River.

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.

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Is it well with your soul?

How do we know if it is indeed well with our soul?

This is not something that we talk about very much with each other.

We usually do not ask each other how it is with our soul.

Oh, we will talk about the weather.

We will talk about how it is going with our families.

We will talk about our favorite sports teams.

We will talk about what we had for dinner last night.

But we rarely talk about our souls.

In the Bible the soul is life.

The soul is the part of us that lives.

God gives us our souls.

God breathes life into our souls.

In the New Testament the soul is connected to life here and now and life in the future.

In our Bible reading for today Jesus speaks about a person’s soul still having life beyond the grave.

Jesus gives both a warning and a promise here.

He warns us to fear God who has power over our souls.

And he gives us a promise to trust in God who cares for our souls.

He says, 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father.  And even the hairs of your head are all counted.  So, do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

God cares for our lives here and now and God cares for that part of us that continues to live even when we die.

The part of us that continues to live even in death, that Jesus refers to in today’s Bible reading from Matthew, is the soul.

Jesus invites us here to place our whole lives in his care.

We cannot save ourselves -not now and certainly not in death.

Only God has the power to give and to take life.

Our families cannot save our souls.

We cannot save our souls through control or power.

We cannot save our souls through our politics or our beliefs.

We cannot save our souls through our possessions or our money.

Only God can save us and God will save us.

God has created our souls and God will save our souls.

Why does God do this?

God saves our souls because God chooses to save our souls.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ God saves us through the life of his Son.

God is the one we can trust our lives, our bodies, our souls, our everything to him.

In this way through Christ it is well with our souls.

At this time this promise from Scripture would be a good verse to memorize:  “Do not be afraid for you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Meaning that each one of us has infinite worth in God’s eyes.

This coming week I pray that we might take some time to care for our souls.

Resting in the promises of God’s love for us.

Having faith in the one who gives life to our souls.

Praying with the understanding that God hears everyone of our prayers even if we do not fully understand how God answers each prayer.

Many years ago, now an aunt of mine died of cancer.

I was very close to this aunt.

She was a Catholic nun of the Dominican Order.

When my aunt Sister De Sales Flanagan died, she was buried at Sinsinawa Mound near Dubuque.

I try to visit the site where she is buried every year and remember her life and her faith.

I can recall at one point my father telling Sister De Sales that he was praying for healing for her cancer.

Sister De Sales smiled and then said to my Dad.

“Thank you for your prayers, I am healed.”

It was shortly after that conversation that Sr. De Sales died.

Over the years I have thought a lot about what Sr. De Sales said to my Dad that she was healed even though she later died.

In life we pray for healing.  

We pray that God would heal our bodies and that God would heal our souls.

But in the end, we trust in God’s healing even in death.

In the Bible healing and salvation go together.

Jesus saves.

Jesus heals.

Sr De Sales was healed because her soul was safe in God’s care.

She knew that even though she was losing her life through this cancer her life was still in God’s hands.

Yes, she was very healed.

“Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

No matter what we face in life God is with us.  

No matter what illness or need or painful situation we encounter God is with us.

This is one of the most important teachings that we receive from Jesus.

Jesus does not promise us all power and all health and all that our hearts want.

That is clear from today’s Bible reading.

No, Jesus said that there would be great difficulties, that there would be divisions even within our own families, that there would be sacrifices that would need to be made so that we could faithfully follow Jesus.

But Jesus does not leave us alone here.

He is with us every step of the way.

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.

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