How to Look Up When Everything around, Inside, In Front of, and Behind You is Down?

“Saved alone. What shall I do.”

Those are the words on the telegram you see. Written from Anna Spafford to her husband Horatio, she had witnessed the drowning deaths of their four children, Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta Spafford while they were sailing to England. Horatio was already making his way through the valley of despair at the loss of his business when he suffered this blow. He had been a successful attorney and businessman in Chicago who, in the famous Great Fire of Chicago in 1871, lost everything that he had in one night.

A man trying to care for his family

Horatio made the best move that he thought would benefit his family, he arranged to move back to England. He had some unfinished business to attend to so he decided to send his wife ahead with their children.

Consider this misery….a man that sought to provide for his family, seeking to do the best that he could, made a decision that sent them to their death. How do you deal with it when everything around you is dark, cold, and miserable??

You may know a thing or two about misery. Have you ever been so tired of crying that you’re eyes are soar? Sometimes life is so intense that you despair to wake up and fear going to sleep. There are seasons in this human experience that couldn’t compare to a horror movie if Steven King himself directed it. Some pains are bitter, stinging in the center of your soul.

There are some things you learn when life becomes your prison. When sunlight becomes your captor, emptiness your reality, and tears your food, you cling to God and plead that in His mercy wisdom would fill your mind just to survive.

Keeping your head above water

  • Cry                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Crying is a healthy and natural way to express emotions. If you didn’t cry what tears would there be for God to wipe away?
  • Stop Crying                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don’t let mourning be your identity. You have to find a laugh. I know that some situations don’t allow for it but most times a good laugh is great medicine for the soul. I keep a playlist on my mp3 player just for rough moments when I really need to laugh. 5 Minutes after you die all this will be over and you will wish you had trusted more, prayed more, loved more! Live as passionately and light weight as you can HERE AND NOW!
  • Stretch                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       So often we pray and ask God for strength to make it and comfort to pull thru and then we make one mistake: we just sit there. We ask but don’t expect. You have to stretch. Get up from bed, don’t let the tv take your mind away, eat something…..the things you need to do will usually be the things you don’t want to do! Stretch and do what you know is right! 
  • Be Lonely, Not Needy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Life’s trauma is sudden and devastating. We become so aware of our need for companionship and begin to hate the solitude. Often times, if we aren’t careful we can develop a co-dependency on others to hold us together. Lean on someone but allow God to be God and allow no other person to sit on His throne!                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  • Act like an infant                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My little girl  doesn’t worry very much. As a matter of fact, she is so carefree that it makes me feel quite good! She is so confident in her dad. She knows that all my resources, all my strength, all my power is reserved for her. Allow God to be your Daddy. Get personal!

 

When Horatio Spafford would later cross the sea, at the location where his children died, he penned the hymn ‘It is Well With my Soul’. Here is a clip of my favorite version.

 

“It is in the quiet crucible of our personal private sufferings
that our noblest dreams are born and Gods greatest gifts are given,
and often given in compensation for what we’ve been through.”

– Wintley Phipps

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “How to Look Up When Everything around, Inside, In Front of, and Behind You is Down?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention How to Look Up When Everything around, Inside, In Front of, and Behind You is Down? | The Ripple Effect -- Topsy.com

  2. Gosh, I have goose bumps..

    This is an awesome post Erik. I didn’t know that story and I’m amazed that he had such an incredible revelation to be able to write that song in THAT spot.. I’m amazed… still with goose bumps..

    Also, you might be interested to know that Hillsong just re-recorded that exact song and is selling it with all proceeds going to the flood relief fund over here.

    Thanks for such a beautiful post.

    Joni 🙂

  3. This is an amazing post Erik. I had no idea who wrote that song and the story behind it. Thanks for sharing. Love your advice. I was nodding along in agreement to each suggestion.

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