all must be well {new reflections on an old hymn}

I had one of those "moments" the other day, when I flipped over to the CD player in my car just to hear what was there, and God showed up and smacked me in the face. Though we pass through tribulation, All will be well Ours is such a full salvation, All is well Happy still in God confiding Fruitful if in Christ abiding Steadfast through the Spirit's guiding All must be well

{Indelible Grace, All Must Be Well - Mary Bowley-Peters, Matthew Smith}

My soul sank into a deep sigh.

All must be well.

I think younger-me loved this hymn for that simple promise - all will be well, one day, when the things of this earth have passed away, but tonight I listened with the ears of a new seminary student, applying each line like the bullet points of a paper or a sermon.

Ours is such a full salvation, Happy still in God confiding, Fruitful if in Christ abiding

If this season is teaching me anything (and in fact, I'm learning so much that I've started to blame these dreadful headaches each day on the spinning of my mind rather than the changing of the seasons), it's teaching me that all of my castles have been built on sand. And with each wave of this eager tide of change, this sandy foundation is washing further out to sea.

My idols are many - my friends, my work, comparison, perfectionism, pride, fear … I could go on forever - and they swallow me whole each day, and I am Jonah in the warm, empty belly of the whale.

Every day I come to school - this blessed space that quiets and fills my restless soul, reminds me that I am not alone - I hear anew, in a different class and phrase, in the story of the life of some great saint, or in the careful reading of Scripture, about our full salvation.

Full salvation is nearly impossible to wrap my brain around - it is 2 beautiful things at once, first the instant and complete atonement that Christ provided for me on the cross. From the moment I believe, I am blameless in His sight. It is also the ongoing, deeply treacherous work of the Holy Spirit who is willing to weed through my heart every day. It is this work that I tend to dwell on - this that makes sense to my works-oriented mind. Of course I'm not good enough yet - and I won't be until I die, but bring on the Holy Spirit and his scythe of sanctification.

The problem with that is it's a fundamental half-truth. I am already whole. I am already new. There's still a lot of work to be done in my messy heart, but I must find a way to remember the rest of my salvation. Because what does that truth then mean?

It means that all is well. That though this is indeed the most reckless and relentless season I've ever walked in my young life, all is well. Because of the fullness and utter completeness of my salvation in Christ, I can be steadfast. I can even be fruitful.

And so this is my hope, my anchor, for you and for me. Maybe like me you are desperately searching for a myriad of answers, desperately whispering half-prayers and half-cries because nothing makes sense, nothing is the way it was supposed to be, and the future seems to be gathering like gray clouds on the horizon. If so, our prayer and hope is this - that it is through the fullness of our salvation that we are called into the mess, into the storm, and we are promised not only that it will be well, but that it already is.