Monthly Archives: August 2013

It Is Well With My Soul

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Wow, I learned the story today of the writing of the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”.

Horatio Spafford lost his entire life savings when properties he had invested in were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. He then lost even more in an economic downturn in 1873. At this time, he and his wife and four daughters were going to travel to Europe. At the last minute, he stayed behind to tend to some business, promising to shortly follow. Out at sea, the ship was struck by another sea vessel and sank within minutes- all four daughters died.

As Spafford sailed across the Atlantic to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write the words of the hymn as his ship passed near where his daughters had died:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
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 has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

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.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my 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.

 

And if that wasn’t stunning enough, here are the words of a letter he wrote to his sister around the same time:

On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down
in mid-ocean, the water three miles deep.
But I do not think of our dear ones there.
They are safe, folded, the dear lambs, and there,
before very long, shall we be too.
In the meantime, thanks to God,
we have an opportunity to serve and praise Him
for His love and mercy to us and ours.
I will praise Him while I have my being.
May we each one arise, leave all, and follow Him.

 

I encourage you to take a minute and thank God for who He is. We all have testimonies of God’s grace and faithfulness, and it is important to remember that in all things He is strong and loving (Ps 62), even when we can’t fully see or comprehend our own life’s circumstances.