Posts Tagged 'soul'

soul wellness


Early in February, I blogged in response to the release of an ‘enhanced’ version of “It is well with my soul” by Hillsong Church here in Australia and how on reflection, all was not at all well with my soul, so much so that I found myself unable to sing what is a very special song to me – and countless others for many years.

On Saturday night, I shared a message at a local Emmaus Gathering.  My theme was “Soul Wellness”.  Thought some of you might appreciate reading where things are at with me about 6 weeks on …



We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose … what then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

I’m going to let you just briefly into some of my journey these months.

Like possibly many others of you here, I’ve found these past two months a difficult time – a really difficult time indeed. You see the Brisbane flood not only impacted our own household directly, but it majorly impacted our church community and our local Oxley community.

It’s fair to say I was emotionally and spiritually shaken by all of this.  Not the easiest place or space to be in when you’re the local UC minister and supposed to be ‘strong’ and ‘on top of things’; when you’re almost expected to be that voice of calm and positivity amid the trauma around you.

Well, that’s not the way it worked out for me. Some of you are blog or Facebook friends of mine, so you’ve shared some of this with me.

I heard early in February that Hillsong Church, in order to raise money for flood relief had issued a reworked version of that 19th century American hymn – It is well with my soul.

Now – I reacted to that news somewhat surprisingly.  You see, I love that song, and the Hillsong additional lyrics added to the song.

So no problem there. The problem was, despite me downloading it on iTunes, I found I simply couldn’t sing it.  I just couldn’t.  You see – at the time, things as far as I was concerned, were far from well with my soul.

Continue reading ‘soul wellness’

it is well with my soul … really?


I’m a bit perplexed.  What’s new, you ask.  You see, I’ve just listened to a new recording of the classic American folk hymn: It is well with my soul.   This version has an extra chorus (a bridge really) written by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding from Hillsong Church.  Their addition is consistent musically and theologically with the original.  I hasten to add that this is all for the purpose of raising funds for the official Queensland government flood-relief appeal.   This is NOT a piece of Hillsong-bagging, let me be clear! I’m in no way questioning the writers’ or Hillsongs’ intentions. I commend Morgan, Fielding and Hillsong for what they are seeking to do with this song. It’s just that I struggle to sing it right now.

Have a listen to the song (recording is from Hillsong, I’m sure the visuals are not, but it gives you the lyrics) …

This is a song that has wonderful memories for me.  I recall being in Nashville in mid 2009 for a family reunion of Dale’s U.S. family.  We went to the Grand Ole Opry – as you do.  The absolute highlight was a near-acapella rendition of the original version by Alison Krauss, backed by folk-country singers, The Whites.  It was real goosebump stuff. I’ll remember it the rest of my life.

In that context and at that time, my spirit found itself singing along. In fact, soaring!  All things considered, things were well with my soul.

Fast forward 18 months, and I’m not so sure I can say that.   Almost a month on from the Brisbane/Queensland floods, in which we and our community were so personally embroiled, can I say “It is well with my soul”?

Sorry – I can’t.  No – it’s nothing to do, as far as I’m concerned with a lack of faith.  I have a very sure sense of God’s presence, comfort and love with me.  Nothing’s changed there.  It’s just that I feel unsettled within myself.  Currently, things are not well with my soul.   Will things improve?  I have no doubt they will.  Lots of patience and understanding (already there!) from those I love and who love me will help — along with my church family and beyond.  The scriptures day in, day out remind me of God’s steadfast love. I’m happy to sing something like Great is Your Faithfulness OR The Steadfast Love of the Lord OR John Bell’s We Cannot Measure How you heal at the moment, just not It is well

I rest in the confidence that God never gives up on me — or any of us for that matter.  And if the song is about the future hope we have in Christ, well I’m in full agreement.  But can I sing that right now?  Could I have my congregation sing that song (with or without the Hillsong addition) this Sunday?  Others might think – no problems.  Currently I can’t.

Now – this is where I’d welcome your thoughts.  Have I got it wrong?  Am I being too hard on myself?  Am I so focused on lament, that I’ve lost sight of the hope that is there right now – and that’s what the writers are on about?  Am I struggling with a lyric (ie in the choruses) that is just-too-bordering on triumphalist?

Tell me.

By the way – I bought the song off iTunes.  And – who knows – down the track I may well find myself singing it both privately and within the community of faith.  Just not now.


For the purpose of reflection and respectful debate, I post the lyrics …

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river
Attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot
You have taught me to say
It is well
It is well with 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 oh my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well
It is well with my soul

You are the rock
On which I stand
By Your grace
It is well
My hope is sure
In Christ my Saviour
It is well with my soul

© 2011 Hillsong Publishing (Admin. by Hillsong Publishing (Australia))Ben Fielding | Horatio Spafford | Philip Paul Bliss | Reuben Morgan 

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