Hope: When We Can Say It Is Well

sunrise-through-trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

A little over a year ago, when I first heard Bethel Music’s, “It Is Well,” things in my life were going well. It seemed I was close to fulfilling a long-held dream. My health was good. I was surrounded by people who “got” me. They understood what made me tick. The song resonated. Of course it was well with my soul. I could hum it and sing it and believe it with all my heart.

It’s easy to say, “It is well with my soul” when we’re in the good times.

mountain-storm

 

Fast forward four months . . . as I waited for a decision from someone who could move me toward that dream fulfilled . . .

. . . as my boys got testy and walked through some struggles and “boy-drama” . . .

. . . as I tore my ACL when we went skiing.

And I received a “No” instead of the “Yes” I’d hoped for.

overhanging-storm-clouds

 

When our circumstances change—when we walk through the hard—we have to choose to say, “It is well with my soul.

How do we say these words and mean them?

Trees standing sentinel

 

It’s so easy to set our eyes on the circumstances happening in our lives. On past hurts that still bear pain in the present. The relationships broken or breaking. The job lost. The child rebelling. Friends turning on us. The scary diagnosis.

It’s simple to look at situations and let our spirits be stirred up in turmoil. Because these things directly affect who we are—our dreams, our hopes. They impact decisions we’re going to make.

When we focus on circumstances, our hope will always falter. And our spirits will churn.

Snowy path

 

As I worked through physical therapy for my knee and spiritual therapy for my heart, I kept coming back to the song. “It Is Well.” How do I keep things well with my soul when my life is filled with challenges that hurt?

We all deal with disappointments and hardships.

evening-sunrays

 

What we must remember is that God is with us in them. In the times when everything seems to go our way, we can say, “It is well,” and we mean it. We may pursue God in those times, or we may not. When things are going smoothly, we don’t feel our need for Him as strongly.

It’s when we’re in the struggles that we know our need for Him.

When the waves of this life roll over us and the wind blows hard against us . . . that’s when we yearn for something—Someone— bigger to come and still the storms in our lives, our hearts.

P. Peak sunset

 

It’s in these times when we must remember who God is. He is bigger than our storms. He’s as close as our every breath. The question is will we look to Him to calm our spirits, or will we look to something else to give us hope in the storms?

Truth is, when we look for something or someone else to place our hope in, we will be disappointed. Every time.

god-is-bigger-copy

 

There is only One who can handle the depth and the weight of our hopes, our needs.

God is with us in the easy times and in the hard times. When we choose to lean into Him, to trust Him to bring us through rather than relying on ourselves or someone else? That’s when we can honestly say, “It is well with my soul.”

winter-mountain-beauty

 

That is where we find our hope.In God alone.

In God alone.

What about you? How do you keep your hope in God when the hard times roll over you? When have you seen God move in hard circumstances in your life?

Click to Tweet: When we focus on circumstances, our hope will always falter.

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and the #RaRaLinkup. Come check out other wonderful blogs!

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20 thoughts on “Hope: When We Can Say It Is Well

  1. Lovely essay, Jeanne, and splendid photos. Thank you for gracing us with these words and images.

    I’m afraid I’m a bit of a knuckledragger here…when I’m clearly beyond “Good to go!”, my stock phrase – and it does give me comfort – is, “Could be worse. I could be slow, soft and ugly.”

    I have the nickname “Mongo” for a reason.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/12/your-dying-spouse-241-when-caregiver.html

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    • Andrew, first off, you’ve never EVER struck me as your nickname indicates. You are thoughtful in your words and responses online. I know, that doesn’t always translate to real life decisions. That being said, the essence of who you are is not Mongo. Just sayin’.

      Secondly, your line before that made me laugh. Out loud. Hope takes different forms in individuals’ lives. You’re living on an extreme most of us have never experienced. You cling to hope in your own ways, as your blogposts clearly show.

      Hugs and prayers, friend.

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  2. This is beautiful, Jeanne. Thank you for sharing your words of hope and encouragement and for pointing us to Jesus. Your photos really set the tone for your post. I’m thankful God is with us in those times of hard as He carries our hope and heart to be able to say “it is well with my soul.” Love this hymn!

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    • Julie, thank you for your encouraging words. I’m with you . . . so thankful God is with us in the times of hard. Thankful He is the God of Hope, and He carries us when we have nothing left in ourselves. Have a beautiful day, my friend!

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  3. Beautiful and the timing is perfect for me. You ask such good questions. How can we hold onto “it is well” when we are gong through a hard season? As Christmas approaches I am looking to God to see me through. This can be the hardest time of year and also the best time of year. Each day is a chance to try again because I am a work in progress. I am holding onto Jesus as my hope. There is none like Him.

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    • Mary, I’ve been praying for you today. I know this will be a difficult season for you. Firsts always are. Thank you for your example of looking to God during your own season of hard. May God meet you where you are and be your comfort. May He fill you with His hope and His joy in the most unexpected moments. Sending you a hug and prayers, my friend.

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  4. May your knee recovery be swift and whole, Jeanne. Skiing can cause pesky injuires far too easily. But, it’s such a fun sport, isn’t it?! And yes, God is bigger than life’s issues, and thankfully He is with us every step of the way. Visiting via #testimonyTuesday.

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    • Thanks, Kristi! Thankfully, surgery was in February, but I’m still dealing with some issues related to my knee. Yes, skiing IS fun. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do it again, though. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by. May God reveal Himself to you in special ways during this Christmas season!

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  5. God’s word is so much simpler to believe from the outside looking in. When we are in the thick of it, when His truth is meeting us in the middle of the pain, we are called on to engage faith despite everything we see and feel. That’s decidedly harder! But oh, how it increases our dependence on God and conditions our faith muscles. While I’m not eager to return to my feet-to-my-faith seasons, I’m grateful for the growth that results. Great encouragement here today, friend.

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    • Tiffany, you said it so well. It’s easier to believe when we’re on the outside looking in. When we’re in the middle of the mess, it’s harder to make that choice. But when we do choose to engage in faith, God meets us there, doesn’t He? And yes, that dependence on Him . . . that is where the real growth often seems to occur.

      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts to this conversation, friend!

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  6. Great post, Jeanne! I agree, it is easy to say “It is well with my soul” in the good times but a challenge to say it when life gets difficult. That was one song I really struggled to sing during a difficult situation with a friend. But it changes a lot when we turn our focus to God and put our hope in him, knowing that he is with us and that he is bigger than any storm we face.

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    • Lesley, I’m so sorry I never responded to your comment last week. I thought I did. But, last week ( like this one) was crazy. I must’ve been a little delirious. 🙂

      You’re so right. When we can transfer our focus to God and off the situation, it’s better for our spirits. When our hope is in Him and we trust Him with all that we are, that’s when we can walk through hard situations with hope. thank you for adding your wisdom here!

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  7. Those are such good questions J! I think I struggle with letting go of my plan and feel like God is not giving me what I want so I can get lost to know where to place my hope. Maybe the hope is the lesson is being learned to bring me further into something around the corner? I sure hope so! i love all the pictures here too.

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    • Lynn, I honestly thought I came back and answered comments. My mind has been, um, consumed with a lot lately. I’m sorry.

      I struggle with letting go of my plans too. Choosing to yield to Him and trust when His plans look very different from my own is humbling. I like what you said that maybe hope is the lesson we can learn to move further into something God has planned for us. Good words. 🙂

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  8. “When the waves of this life roll over us and the wind blows hard against us . . . that’s when we yearn for something—Someone— bigger to come and still the storms in our lives, our hearts.” This especially resonates in my heart, Jeanne. It’s when things are difficult that we become more dependent on God, isn’t it? And we grow and strengthen and learn to trust His promises even when we can’t always “feel” them. Thank you so much for this encouragement, both in these words and in the beautiful photos. Advent blessings and hugs to you!

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    • Trudy, I’m so sorry I didn’t answer this last week. It’s been . . . a month. 🙂

      Yes, it is when life is difficult that we become/see our huge need to depend on God. I love your words here, friend. Such wisdom. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights.

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  9. Oh, Jeanne. Hard truths. How do I keep my constant hope in God? By remembering He’s the only hard truth. He’s the only constant in my life. I can’t control anything. 🙂 I think God just keeps reminding me to keep stepping forward with love. That’s all I really can control. xoxo

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    • Shelli, I think one of the trickiest things in walking well with God (at least for me) is accepting that we can’t really control anything. That’s one of the first steps to walking deeper with Him, don’t you think? I love what you said about our choosing to walk forward with love is the only thing we can control. So true!

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