It Is Well With My Soul

We all have a favorite church hymn we love to hear or sing. It’s probably a song that has a special memory or you like the message it provides. My favorite hymn is , “It Is Well With My Soul”. The words are so comforting for me. I have heard it sung by different people, but the words are beautiful, no matter who sings it. Here are the words to this beautiful song.

“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.

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!

It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

One Sunday my husband preached a sermon on this song. I learned who wrote it and why they wrote it. The story has always stuck with me. It Is Well With My Soul” is a hymn written by hymnist Horatio Spafford. The hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his son at the age of 2 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire). His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …”.

With a broken heart, Spafford boarded a ship that would take him to his grieving wife. On the passage across the Atlantic, the captain of the ship called him to the bridge. “A careful reckoning has been made,” he said, “and I believe we are now passing the place where the Ville de Havre sank. The water is three miles deep.” As he crossed over the abyss that held the bodies of his beloved daughters, it is said that Horatio returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics to the song we know so well.

This story touched me so much because after all the tragedy he faced and he was able to write this song. You feel his words when you sing it or read them, and I know I feel great comfort and peace from this hymn. I ask the question though, would you or I be of equal resolve if we endured such a loss?

No matter who we are, we all suffer trials and sorrows. There is no escaping that. How do we get through it and to know, it is well with our soul?

There is tragedy and sadness all around us. God never promised us a life without sorrow. Sometimes we feel like we cannot go on. During my time here on earth, I have known some amazing people who showed great courage in the face of trials. During those times, despite what they were going through, they were still able to say, “It is well with my soul.” Their faith in a God is amazing and something I truly admire.

We won’t always understand why things happen the way they do — God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), but in the end, we need to be reminded that our hope and real joy is in Christ. And that no matter what happens in our lives, if we love and serve Him according to His will “and be content with such things” we can be confident that Jesus “will never leave us, nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5).

I leave you with this verse. “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.

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