“It Is Well”

13 years ago today (Sept 1, 2003), my heart felt amputated and hemorrhaging. Having identified the bodies of all 4 of our precious children the day before – Makenah (8), Zachary (5), Nicholas (3), and Alenah (1), and with my parents now at my side, we offered up our tears and prayers to God. We prayed that somehow Melissa would somehow still be found intact. I suddenly felt as though life had no direction or meaning. What did I still have to live for? What would I tell Melissa, if she was found alive? What do I do?

So many questions.

Amidst it all, my longing for some healing music led me to this hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” I went to the chapel in the hospital and pondered its words at the foot of the cross. “When sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul'”. Written by Horatio Spafford after his 4 children drowned, the hymn met me right at my point of need.

Later in the day, the local police asked me to give a press conference in Emporia, Kansas – as the national news media had gathered to cover the story. I had never done anything like this and certainly didn’t feel up to it. I’ve never been comfortable in front of a microphone. Yet, once I faced the worst fear of all – death – the fear of microphones and cameras seemed minuscule.

“What do I say?” I asked my father. “Just share your heart, son. Tell of your family and share your strong faith.” Such wise words that helped guide me.

I took a deep breath and began with the words, “God is God, and I am not.” I had to surrender to God and place my trust in His sovereignty.

I ended with, “We will get through this. We will rise above this. And by God’s grace, good will somehow come from this.” (Emporia, Kansas – Press Conference, September 1, 2003) I felt it compellingly necessary to speak words of hope and encouragement amidst the utter sadness and dreadful tragedy. The hope of Christ was vital to us all as much then as it is now.

In the hands of God, all is well – regardless of the storm around you. Just don’t let the storm get inside of you. Build your house on the Rock of His Word – to withstand the worst tempest.

“So then, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man. He builds his house on the rock. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. But it does not fall. It is built on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

[KNOW GOD – no regrets] -Robert