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“It’s cancer, it’s widespread, and it’s untreatable.” After 54 years of zestful living, the remainder of my brother’s life was now defined by this sentence. Down syndrome had not prevented him from squeezing joy out of every day. Now he was given “days and weeks, but not months” to live.  

He spent a week in the hospital and a week in a nursing home, all with family by his side, and he breathed his last breath late one Sunday afternoon. We said our final goodbyes and waited for the folks from the funeral home to collect his body.

When they arrived, I was dimly aware that there was live music in the nursing home’s dining hall. Sure enough, as we followed the gurney on its trip past the dining hall filled with residents, there were young musicians from Dordt University scattered among the tables. As the words filtered into my consciousness, I realized what I was hearing: “It is well, it is well with my soul.” 

My brother had a particular love for the Holy Spirit. He saw the Holy Spirit everywhere: in the rays of the sun breaking through the clouds, in the flickering of the Advent candle he lit in his church each year, in the harp music his friend would play for him. That day, the Holy Spirit showered me with reassurance that all was well with my brother’s soul.

I doubt that any of those Dordt students knew that day that they would be a particular blessing to me. But then, does any of us know when God will call us to be a channel of God’s grace and peace? 

Their words pierced the horrible grief I was carrying, and comfort flooded my soul so that all was well with my soul too. 

When will God use you or me to speak grace and peace to someone, maybe even someone we don’t know? Maybe we will, like those musicians, be unaware that the Holy Spirit is using us to let someone know it is well with their soul.   

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