Shaking Off


When loved ones go, the grieving process serves a healing purpose.

"… forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead" (Philippians 3:13, NKJV).

When the great Chicago fire consumed the Windy City in 1871, Horatio Spafford, an attorney heavily invested in real estate, lost a fortune. About that time, his 4-year-old son succumbed to scarlet fever. He decided to vacation in Europe with his wife and daughters. Detained by last-minute business details, he sent his wife and their four daughters on ahead.

There ship met with disaster as it collided with an iron sailing vessel. Mrs. Spafford barely survived, while 226 people lost their lives, including their four daughters. Immediately booking passage, Horatio prepared to join his wife. At the precise place where the other ship had sunk, the captain called Mr. Spafford aside. "We’re sailing over the area where your daughters perished."

Tormented, Horatio retreated to his cabin, but couldn’t sleep. Hours later, resolve entered his heart. He jotted down some thoughts. “It is well, the will of God be done.” This was the start of his famous hymn based on those words. Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” continues to help countless souls "make it over."

When loved ones go, the grieving process serves a healing purpose. I was fifteen when Dad died. Perhaps I lingered a bit too long in the lamenting stage. Last year, Mom passed, and I sought counseling to dislodge fear, anger, and self-hatred. 

Climbing out of despair requires hope, determination, and reaching out to others in pain. Accepting tribulations and moving forward while comforting those in need proves healthy---like storing up precious jewels and treasures in Heaven where they last forever.

This helpful beatitude, "Imitation of Christ," was penned by Thomas A Kempis, a Catholic monk: “Blessed are they who are completely free to attend to God and who have shaken off everything that stands in their way.”

Written by Anna Darlene Edmondson

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