It Is Well with My Soul

I am sure you have heard and even sang the words to the timeless hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.” These six words alone can teach us a lot. But when we look at the story behind the words, we stand to learn from them all the more.

These words were written by Horatio Gates Spafford in 1873. Spafford was a renowned lawyer in Chicago, an active member in his church, and he owned numerous pieces of real estate. Things in life seemed to be going quite well for this man and his family, until suddenly everything took a dramatic turn.

First, Spafford and his wife Anna had a four-year-old son who died of scarlet fever. Later, in the Great Fire of Chicago, Spafford lost most of his investments. Things now seemed to be dismal in the Spafford home. In an attempt to give the family a much-needed reprieve, he decided they should take a trip to Europe. He was delayed due to business, but he sent his wife and four daughters ahead.

In November of 1873, while they were crossing the Atlantic Ocean their ship collided with another ship. Most of the passengers perished, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. Spafford’s wife survived and was floating on a piece of the wreckage when a sailor rescued her. When Anna made it to dry land, she sent her husband a telegram, telling him that she was “saved alone.”

Spafford left immediately to reach his grieving wife. He got on a ship crossing the Atlantic, and when his ship was over the area of the ocean where his daughters had died, he wrote the words that would become a legendary hymn. I am in awe that one hundred forty-five years ago, these encouraging words were written in a place of deep pain. Yet they have inspired countless people for over a century.

This story has motivated me to look at my hardships from a different perspective. I have not had to endure the loss of four daughters at once. But like everyone, I have gone through my own trials. While it can be tempting to fall into despair, this story has stirred my heart and helped me to look at those difficult moments with a new vision.

By the way, life continued to have its ups and downs for the Spafford family. They had three more children, but one of them died of pneumonia. The Spaffords moved to Jerusalem in 1881. Spafford died there in 1888.

 

It Is Well with My Soul:

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, 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.

 

Refrain

 

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!

 

Refrain

 

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.

 

Refrain

 

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!

Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

 

Refrain

 

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.

 

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About Bridget A. Thomas

Learning to live freely in Christ Jesus. I pray that I can be transparent when sharing my journey with others.
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2 Responses to It Is Well with My Soul

  1. Pingback: It Is Well with My Soul – Bridget A. Thomas

  2. Pingback: It Is Well with My Soul – The Redeemed Way

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