The Word: All is well

"Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she answered, ‘it is well.’”

“Elisha Raising the Shunammite’s Son” by Benjamin West (1766) is a painting in the collection of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. (Public Domain)

All is well with us when Christ dwells in our hearts. The Shunamite mother from 2 Kings 4 could say “All is well,” because she was a believer in God. Her faith was seen in her works. She loved God, and therefore loved the “man of God.” Observing that Elisha often passed her abode on his Divine errands, she prepared a chamber for his special use. So let us provide in our hearts an abode for Christ. He is always passing. He is willing to stay with us. He knocks and asks us to receive Him. The rich woman provided for the poor traveler.

Jesus dwells with the lowest of His servants. The Shunamite carefully provided for the prophet Elisha’s comfort — “Let’s make a little room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by,” and this was gratefully noticed by the prophet. Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her that we appreciate the kind concern she has shown us.”

So let us thoughtfully, generously, lovingly, be careful to entertain Jesus. Let it not be enough that we open the door for Him to enter. Let us prepare and provide as we do for an honored guest in our earthly home. Such reception of Christ will be our best security and consolation. With Him abiding with us, we can appeal to Him in all trials, sure that He will lend a ready ear, and stretch forth a ready arm for our help.

Jesus asks, “Is it well with you?” as He asked Peter, “Do you love me?” not because He is ignorant, but because He wants us to examine ourselves to exercise our faith. All will be well. In a little while we shall be beyond the reach of sickness, bereavement, sin, and death. All is well — because these trials which seem ill are on the path to that Heaven. Trials help us; they speed our pace, they strengthen our feet for the march, our hands for the fight; they “work out for us” the glory to come, and as the end will be well, the road must be well also.

All must be well. Afflictions are not accidents, nor the working of mere physical laws. God is infinitely kind and wise to direct the best methods to fulfill His love. Though we only see a small portion of God’s completed work, we may infer, from what we know, that “He does all things well.”

We are assured of this by His written Word, and by the testimony of His Son who came to reveal the Father. And so when vision fails, faith is confident, and says, “It is well.”

Can it be well without Him? Well with revelers in a sinking ship? Well with sleepers in a burning house? Well with Belshazzar at his banquet, when the fatal finger wrote, “Weighed in the balances and found wanting?” Well with the rich man with goods laid up for many years, when the warning was given, “This night your soul shall be required of you”?

But with Christ all is well. It was well with the Jewish youths in the fiery furnace; with Daniel in the den of lions; with Paul and Silas in the inner prison.

Though a river has many windings, it is still flowing to the sea. Now it turns to the right, now to the left, now backward; yet the current rolls on without stay, and bears our boat toward home. Each bend, each seemingly opposing turn flows forward. If disappointed, it is well. If our dearest hopes are baffled, it is well. If the voyage seems tediously protracted, it is well. If speedily to end, it is well. However wild the waves of the narrow sea we have to cross, it will be well; for our Savior, who crossed it to secure our safe passage will be with us. He will welcome us on the distant shore. And then, could a voice from those we leave behind reach us amid the glories of heaven, asking “Is it well?” with what exultant joy we would shout the answer back — “It is well!”

Christopher Newman Hall (1816 – 1902), was known as a “dissenter’s bishop” and was a nineteenth century English Nonconformist. In the U.S., he supported Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery during the American Civil War. This article is an excerpt from his book “Gethsemane: Leaves of Healing from the Garden of Grief.” His work is in the public domain.