Hannah gazed out the window as the moving truck pulled away. The sound of the white metal door being pulled down and latched kept ringing in her ears. To her mind, it was an exclamation point at the end of a long sentence, a confirmation of finality. All the years flashed through her mind like a movie in fast forward. She realized she was still looking out the window, staring at the empty place where the truck had been only minutes before. She wondered why traumatic events always seemed to put her in an alternate universe, as if she were watching herself from another dimension. It was the illusion of unreality, but at the same time painfully real. She had thought she had had enough conversations with herself over the past few weeks to prepare her for this moment, which she had clearly understood that outside of a miracle would come.
“Irreconcilable Differences” is what the divorce papers claimed. She rolled her eyes. The phrase sounded trite and made up, probably by some lawyer looking for another excuse to break apart what God had commanded not to be broken. Had things been perfect? No, they had not. Far from it, in fact. But they had made a vow, a promise to see this through, not only to each other, but to God. She realized to her amazement that was actually what bothered her most. She had failed to live up to her promises to her King. Suddenly her legs felt as if they were blocks of ice. Hannah carefully made it over to her favorite chair and collapsed. She closed her eyes and felt the familiar feel of the perfectly curved wood, the worn fabric that molded to her body. The overstuffed arms welcomed her like an old and trusted friend. Many an hour had been spent in the arms of her old beloved comrade; the memories warmed her like sunlight dancing on a icy pond. She reached for her Bible, worn and familiar. How would she get through this? It seemed only a short time ago that nothing would be able to penetrate that cold deadness that had become her heart, that poison weed of bitterness that screamed out, “Why me?”
Hannah opened the book, and the pages fell to Hosea 2:15, not because of any unseen hand guiding the pages, but because she had lived in this passage so many times before. There had been the miscarriage, now so long ago, but the memory still brought tears to her eyes. A Valley of Achor. Then there had been the cancer diagnosis. Then the long battle not only with the sickness itself, but endless oncology appointments, chemotherapy, insurance red tape, to name just a few. A Valley of Achor. And she thought of the time that their youngest son was hit head on by a drunk driver, and the phone call that came at 1:23 am that cold winter night. “Mrs. Jamison? This is the Logandale Police Dept, we are calling in reference to your son Mark. There has been an accident, I am so sorry….” Another Valley of Achor.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her back into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope”
The tears came as they had come so many times before. The page had become impossible to read as a flood of tears over the years had warped the paper and slowly faded the ink until it was decipherable only by memory. Had the Lord ever abandoned her in the Valley of Trouble? Had He ever failed in His promise that although the water be deep, He would be with her? She thumbed through the pages, the penciled in notes with dates on the margin, a living journal of her walk with Him. The delights of Mt Hermon, where the bells of joyous communion never cease ringing. Or the ordinary days on the plains of the Jordan, which is the mundane walk of everyday life. And that deep darkness of the Valley of Achor, the hand of her Lord had been there each and every time. And the Great Author of her story pulled that poison weed of bitterness from her heart and replaced it with a song of rejoicing. She remembered now what was missing. Hannah had forgotten to sing.
When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like Sea pillows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul. It is well, with my soul. It is well, It is well with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, Though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded, My helpless estate, And hath shed, His own blood for my soul. It is well, with my soul. It is well, It is well with my soul. My sin, O the bliss this glorious thought, My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nail to his 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. And Lord, haste the day When the faith shall be sight. The clouds be rolled back as 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.
As her eyes grew heavy, she found comfort in the same overstuffed arms that had held her so many times before. Although she did not know what unfamiliar landscape her tomorrow held, she fell asleep, knowing one thing, that it was well with her soul.