it is well with my soul

“It Is Well With My Soul” has always been when of my all time favorite songs.  Not because the music is so great, even though I think it is.  Or because it has a catchy tune or deep meaning, although I think it does, as well.  It’s my favorite because of the back story to this song. It’s the story behind the Hymn that truly makes it, almost unbelievable.  Knowing what took place right before this song was written, profoundly builds my faith.  I think of its author, Horatio Spafford, and his unshakable faith, often these days. I want a faith like his!  So what is the back story to this world renowned Hymn?

Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Horatio had, wiping out his fortune.

Shortly after the Chicago fire, Horatio scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragic loss of their son and brother. At the last minute, Horatio decided to send his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters had drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, heavier than I can even fathom!, Horatio boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned the now famous Hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.”  In fact he started it while looking out over the ocean at the very spot the ship went down, that claimed the lives of his four precious daughters!

Oh the faith of a man that could write these words, after losing all 5 of his children, and almost all of his earthly fortune.  Now that you have the back story, read and be blessed! Oh how I long for the faith of Horatio Spafford.

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)

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

The world may have robbed Horatio Spafford of his most treasured earthly gifts.  He suffered catastrophic loss, unimaginable to most of us.  And yet, even in all of that, he knew, and he proclaimed for the entire world to hear, it was well with his soul. Because of Christ, he was ok where it mattered most.  With heart so broken, and missing Grant so much it’s hard to sometimes breathe, I will sing with Horatio, as we did at Grant’s memorial, “It is well with my soul.”

Tomorrow, we look at the faith of Anna, Horatio’s wife…it is literally one of the greatest evidences I have ever seen of God’s sustaining comfort and grace.

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2 Responses to it is well with my soul

  1. Judi Schleiden says:

    Oh my dear what a wonderful work God is doing your life. Because of you and other circumstances in my life I too am growing. Who am I to question? As my son says to his boys when disciplining them…..what’s your job?! What else can we say but… It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    As I’ve been telling a young Mom going through a rough time – I Thessalonians 5:17 – Constantly praying. (NET) Love you sweetie!

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