I suppose that statement deserves an explanation, so here it is: I went to a funeral for a friend yesterday that died from cancer. It's the third friend I've lost to cancer in 18 months. To say I hope I never see the face of this ugly beast again would be an understatement.
Anyway, they seem to love this hymn at funerals. There's just one problem: No, it's not well with my soul. I don't understand why three people I know had to suffer like this. They were good people. They wanted to live. It seems so unfair that their lives were cut short when I look around and see people that don't appreciate a thing - or that play hard and fast, like they don't care about putting themselves or others in danger - and they keep going on and on.
I hate that hymn because it's arrogant and it's a lie. Are you ok with anything that happens? Life can whollop you and it's just "well, praise God and glory be." No folks, not in the real world. Real people get frustrated. Real people get angry. Real people are confused and hurt and don't understand. I'll admit that I'm a real person and my soul's got problems. I don't get it. In fact, there's a lot I don't get.
Another reason I don't like this song is because it implies that faith means never questioning anything - just blind acceptance. You can reason out everything, even if the reason is simply "it's God's will." While that is true, and I suppose it all does boil down to that, it's been my experience that human beings aren't that simplistic. We do try to understand. We do ask questions. We do get frustrated and angry in our confusion and lack of understanding. It is through these struggles that we find what faith really is: Not a lack of questions, but an acceptance that we won't have most of the answers. That in the grand scheme of things it does make sense, and being ok with the fact that only God may know how it fits into that scheme. And most importantly, to realize that it's ok to not have the answers or to work through whatever processes we need to work through to get to this acceptance.
That's where I'm at. My soul does hurt, and it's confused. I know all three of them are at peace now, and that there's a greater plan that I won't see this side of Heaven. Intellecutally, it's there. Emotionally, I'm still on the journey to that point. I miss them and those absences do hurt. It's hard to remember that they won't walk through that door at church Sunday morning any more, that they won't be at that committee function or in Sunday School or passing by at functions with their cheerful smiles. The reality that they're gone and never coming back is still stinging. And I don't think there's a thing wrong with that sting. It means I feel. It means I'm still human. It means I'm still alive.
So no, it's not well with my soul, and I'm ok with admitting that. My soul is hurt and it needs to heal. I know the truth and accept it, but I'm just going to have to work through that process to get these pesky emotions at that same level. And I don't think I'm alone. Many others are on that same journey. I have plenty of company on this road. My comfort is that tomorrow is a new day. New mercies every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.
Now that's one I can live with.
That's all today. Happy Friday to you tomorrow.