It is Well with My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows, like sea billows roll,
What ever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, It is well, with my soul.
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious tho’t,
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!
O, 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.
This is a hymn that I learned as a child growing up and remains one of my favorites. It reminds me, that no matter what my circumstances, I can find peace knowing that God is sovereign and the Holy Spirit can comfort me and make things well with my soul. While this song can bring comfort and assurance in Christ when I go through difficult times, I learned that the writer of this song wrote it after experiencing something most of us can’t imagine going through.
It was written by Horatio G. Spafford who was a successful attorney in Chicago who invested a lot of his fortune in real estate. When the great Chicago fire consumed the city in 1871, Horatio lost a fortune. About that same time, his only son who was 4 years old succumbed to scarlet fever. Horatio committed himself not only to helping rebuild the city, but also assisting the more than 100,000 people who were homeless as a result of the fire.
In November of 1873, Horatio made plans to visit the evangelistic meetings of D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey in Europe. He was delayed in New York by some matters he had to attend to, so he sent his wife and four daughters, Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie on ahead on the luxurious French liner Ville du Havre.
During the night of November 22, 1873, the Ville du Havre collided with an iron sailing vessel and sank into the powerful currents of the icy ocean. There were only 47 survivors of the 273 passengers aboard. Horatio’s wife was one of them, but they had lost their 4 daughters. While sailing aboard another ship to meet his wife in Europe, as they were nearing the place where he lost his daughters, he couldn’t sleep but was able to say to himself, “It is well; the will of God be done.”
These words resounded with him and he later wrote his famous hymn based on those words.
We all have experienced or perhaps are currently experiencing something difficult in our lives. No matter what the outcome, my hope is that I would still be able to recite the words of this hymn and not only be well in my soul with God’s plan, but that my soul may also continue to praise the Lord!
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19