by Jonathan Daugherty
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Prov. 11:3
Life is stormy sometimes. How is that for a gross understatement? The seas of life get choppy, though. It could be an illness, a job loss, the death of a loved one, a secret addiction, a difficult marriage. There are numerous things in life that can create waves. So, what is the anchor that will keep us from being capsized in these storms? How can we weather the storms of life well? Let me suggest godly integrity.
Horatio Spafford knew about storms in life. He was a successful lawyer and real estate developer in the late nineteenth century in Chicago. The first “storm” to hit Spafford’s life came in 1871 when his only son died. Shortly after his son’s death, the great Chicago Fire wiped him out financially. In 1873, his family planned a trip to Europe. Spafford, however, was delayed by business and sent his wife and four daughters on ahead of him. While crossing the Atlantic, the vessel carrying his family was struck and sank rapidly. His four daughters died. His wife, who survived the shipwreck, sent a telegram to Spafford which simply read, “Saved. Alone.”
Horatio Spafford’s life was overwhelmed by storms in a very short period of time. How could one respond to such devastation? Losing a son, losing your livelihood, losing all your daughters? What pain, what torture of the soul. What could possibly hold a man steady in such storms? What could possibly guide a man to safety in such turmoil? Godly integrity is what carried Spafford through.
Shortly after receiving the news of his daughters’ deaths, he boarded a ship to meet his wife in Europe. When the ship reached the approximate place where his daughters died, the captain shared this with Spafford. His soul overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, he picked up a pen and poured out his heart to God…
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.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Spafford to write (or even think) these words, but somehow in the “calm” seasons of his life, integrity and faith in Christ was fashioned into a strong, consistent structure that carried him through the worst storms of his life…and he found peace.
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
What is going to guide you through the storms of life to the peace of Christ? “The integrity of the upright guides them.” What are you doing in the “calm” seasons of life to prepare your “house” for when the storms hit. The storms are coming. Will you have the anchor and compass of godly integrity to see you through?