The Secret Church simulcast was already an hour underway by the time the team and I managed to navigate our way to The Church at Station Hill (regional campus of Brentwood Baptist). Usually if you're an hour late to church you will have missed the entire service, but not Secret Church. On Good Friday beginning at around 6 p.m. Radical author David Platt gave a 6 hour sermon (via simulcast) to thousands of people around the world. Six hours of church, you say? YES, and it was awesome. This is why. . . During the sermon, David talked about the theme of The Cross and Suffering as it appears throughout the entire Bible. Genesis to Revelation. How? David talks at the speed of light. Once we got to the book of Habakkuk and the topic of Questioning God, he told of the story of a songwriter and how his suffering was used for the glorification of the Kingdom.
There once was a man named Horatio Spafford. He worked as a lawyer in Chicago during the 1800s. Horatio was married with five children, one boy and four girls. His son died at just four years of age, a toddler. A period of time passed after his son's death, Horatio and wife Anna decided to take their family on vacation to Europe. They planned a time to depart, but Horatio was held up at work. His wife and four daughters went ahead on a ship to Europe, while he stayed behind. He planned to later meet up with them after his work was finished in Chicago.
While crossing the Atlantic ocean, the SS Ville du Harve (the ship on which Anna Spafford and her four daughters were traveling) collided with another ship and sank. All four of the daughters drowned. Anna survived the shipwreck, and upon arriving in Europe she sent a telegram back to Chicago to tell her husband about what had happened. Imagine how difficult it was for Anna, after only a few years previously losing their son, to now have to tell her husband that their remaining four daughters had died. Her words to Horatio are now famous, "Saved alone. . ."
After Horatio got the telegram he set sail immediately for Europe to be with Anna. While crossing the Atlantic, the captain of Horatio's ship stopped the boat at the spot where his four daughters had died. Horatio wrote this song after passing over the place:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll: Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul, My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O My soul!
For me, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Though wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, 'tis for THee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back like a scroll; THe trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Yeah, this man wrote these words after losing four daughters. He knew his and Anna's suffering was not in vain. He knew that God would guide them through this sorrowful season in their lives. He knew that the purpose of his pain was for the glorification of God. Horatio got it. Do we get it? Are we able to attribute the pain we go through, whether it be a broken bone, a broken heart, disease, fear, death of a loved one, calamity, persecution for our believes, rejection from friends, discomfort in some situations, hunger, thirst.... do we realize that all pain we suffer on earth is sent by God for the glorification of His Kingdom, not by satan to drag us down?
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I cam from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. JOB 1:20-22