Is it Well with Your Soul
Sam was the child of Christian parents and in early youth, he had given his heart to the Lord. At school, he had already experienced that God hears and answers the prayers of His children. This knowledge had strengthened and taught him never to start his daily work without prayer to God, committing his ways unto Him.
As long as he was at home, the temptations that came to him were few, but things became more serious when he was called to become a soldier. It was a difficult step for him to go from his peaceful home to the rough reality of camp life. But Sam was no coward. With a joyful heart, he fulfilled his duties as a soldier. His comrades thought well of him, but gradually their attitude changed because he would not join them in singing their worldly and ungodly songs. Just to listen to their frivolous songs and filthy conversation was very painful to him and caused him to seek the Lord for strength to remain faithful. His comrades started to tease him, and in a short period of time, they openly ridiculed him.
Gradually, the number of those who were against him increased. As a Christian, his path became more and more lonely. Eventually this came to the notice of the Captain, who knew Sam as a man above reproach, and as one of his best soldiers. It annoyed him to hear the report that Sam was so religious, and he wanted to liberate him from this. But how? It was such a shame that an otherwise excellent soldier had such a silly fault. Should he not seek to help him get rid of this?
One beautiful morning when the Captain reviewed his Company (and found everything in order), his attention was drawn to Sam. What an example of a soldier! – Suddenly the Captain’s order was: “Sam step forward.” Sam stood before his Captain, who commanded in the hearing of all: “Sing your favorite song in the presence of the Company.” Sam was startled by such an unusual command, but he must obey – not only his Captain, but also his Saviour and Lord. A few moments of silent prayer and then with a clear voice he started singing:
“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'."
The first verse was finished. Sam was happy in the consciousness of having done what is pleasing before God. “Continue,” cried the Captain!
“Tho’ Satan should buffet,
tho’ trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded
my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”
The Captain was silent and our friend went on:
“My sin – oh, the bliss
of this glorious tho’t –
My sin – not in part but the whole, –
Is nailed to His cross,
and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
O my soul!”
The Captain remained silent and tears rolled down his cheeks. With joyful heart, gazing Heavenward, Sam continued:
“But Lord, ‘tis for Thee,
for Thy coming I wait.
The sky, not the grave, is my goal,
Oh, trump of the angel!
Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope! Blessed rest of my soul!
It is well with my soul, it is well,
it is well, with my soul.”
Our friend had entirely forgotten where he was – as a victor he stood in the midst of defeated ones.
“Sam, step back! Would to God, the whole Company only sang such songs,” the Captain said in a subdued voice. He was deeply touched, for he also knew the hymn and used to sing it himself. The memory of his departed mother came before him now. He seemed to hear her last words of admonition. Had he not been on the path of faith once also? Why did he leave it? Alas, he had not resisted temptation to sin and could not stand to be ridiculed. In reality the brave Captain had been a coward. Sam, his subordinate, had indeed done better, and what folly to think of delivering him by trying to make him a laughing stock before the whole Company. Now the Captain was the defeated one and was not ashamed of his tears. He decided that this day must be the turning point in his life.
The whole Company had seen the tears of their Captain, and not one was seen laughing. The hymn Sam had sung had touched every one and stirred them deeply. From this day on, there was a marked change in the esteem of his comrades and God blessed his faithfulness in testifying for the Lord Jesus. There was no more scorn or derision for our friend, and rarely were there any songs heard in which he could not join. By his decided testimony for his Lord and Saviour, he became a guide to the narrow way for many of his comrades.
How is it with you, dear unsaved friend; are you going on without Christ because you do not have the courage to receive Him into your life and make a definite stand for Him? Is it not true that deep down in your heart you know you are not right with God and that you need Christ as your Saviour, but you are ashamed to take a stand for Him before your fellow men? An endless eternity is before you in Heaven or hell and it depends upon your decision which it will be. Receive Christ and it will be Heaven; go on, too cowardly to take a stand for Him, and it will be hell.
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13