Daily Devotions
 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

When my mother-in-law, Mae, was near to death, she told her pastor who was visiting her, she did not think she would survive her cancer much longer.   But then she said to him, he reported at her funeral, “Either way I will be okay!”  In our funeral liturgy, at the time of the committal, there is the option to use this verse from Romans 14 as we gather at the graveside, “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”  This verse shakes its fist at death and declares that death does not have the last word because we belong to God, who is our Creator and Redeemer.   My mother-in-law Mae, because of her faith, shook her fist at death and said, “Either way I will be okay.”

I wanted to share two hymns from our hymn book, that acknowledge life can be terribly hard and awful things can happen, yet we have a God who stands with us and helps us because we are the Lord’s.   The hymns are My life flows on in endless song, ELW-763 and When Peace Like a River/It is well with my soul ELW-785.  

There is not much information about why the composer wrote My life flows on in endless song.  However, I did find this interesting fact.  In one hymnal it was titled, Always Rejoicing.  It is as if the author is saying, “No matter what, we are the Lord’s, so hold on to that truth.”  

However, with the hymn, When Peace like a River /It is well with my soul, much has been written about why it was composed by Horatio G. Spafford.  Spafford and his wife experienced great losses in life.  They lost their business in the Great Chicago fire, and they lost children due to illness and tragedy yet they came out on the other side experiencing what St. Paul described in Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts,  and your minds in Christ Jesus.  The peace from God that Horatio unexpectedly experienced led him to write the words of this hymn when we might have been expecting him to be cursing God.

I am grateful for and marvel at the faith my mother-in-law had in the face of death.  In the same way, I am grateful for and I marvel at the faith I have seen many of members of GSLC talk about as they have faced difficult circumstances or death.  In the same way, I am grateful for and I marvel at the faith the words from these hymns display too.  The faith of Mae, the faith of members of GSLC and the words from these hymns help me remember that I have been given peace that passes understanding by God. 

I hope you will listen to these hymns today and remember, beloved child of God, you are always the Lord’s!

https://youtu.be/ZYrL9ea1XUg

https://youtu.be/ZXqvNUxjerg

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