Summary: Judges, Pt. 5

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The hymn “It is Well with My Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford after a series of disasters struck his family. Spafford, a successful businessman and a close friend of the evangelist D.L. Moody, lost his only son at about the same time the Chicago fire in 1871 ravaged his business.

The worse was yet to come. Two tears later, Spafford’s wife and four children were sailing to Europe for a vacation when another vessel struck the ship and sank it. Spafford was supposed to join them later after he had wrapped up some business. Thirty minutes later, less than fifty of the hundreds on board survived the wreckage. Three of Spafford children were swept away by the waves while the mother held on fiercely to the youngest. A little while later the youngest child, too, was swept from her arms. Mrs. Spafford became unconscious and was rescued by sailors.

Back in the United States, Horatio Spafford waited anxiously ten days for the news of his family’s well-being. His grief-stricken wife sent him a telegram, with two words only: “Saved alone.” As he mourned his family’s loss, he wrote this defiant hymn:

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea-billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Ruth was one of the bravest women in the Bible. She was a Moabite, a foreigner and an outsider, but she was one of two women to have a book named after her and the only Gentile with a book that bore her name in the Jewish Scriptures. How does an alien make such a name, leave such a mark and garner such an honor in the face of tragedy, disaster and heartbreak? How could one possibly pick up the pieces after suffering such a shattering loss? Not without toughness on the inside, tenderness to others and trust in God.

Be Tough on Yourself

14 At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. (Ruth 1:14)

A problem-plagued daughter complained to her chef father about how things were so hard for her. Her father took her to the kitchen, boiled three pots of water, and placed carrots, eggs, and coffee beans in separate pots. Twenty minutes later, he took them out and placed them in a bowl. What do you see?” asked the father. “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

The father asked her to feel the carrot, break the egg, and sip the coffee. The daughter felt the softness of the carrot, noted the hardness of the egg, and tasted the richness of the coffee. She then asked the father what it meant. The father explained, “Each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had (always) protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.” The father then asked her daughter, “Which are you?”

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