Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It is Well with my Soul

I’m sure many of you know the story of Horatio Spafford, the writer of this hymn. He wrote these words after two great tragedies in his life. The first was the great Chicago Fire of October 1871, which ru¬ined him financially (he had been a wealthy businessman). Shortly after, Spafford sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him for a family vacation, while he finished up business at home. While crossing the Atlantic, all four of his daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford’s wife Anna survived. Several weeks later, as Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit inspired these words.

I’ve often wondered how someone who has just gone through all of that could possibly write “It is well with my soul.” Sometimes I’ve been unable to even sing the words sincerely. I was thinking about this last night as I sang this to myself, sincerely this time. I’m sure it was the Spirit of God who prompted me to realize this important truth: it can be well with my soul when I am confident that our Sovereign God is in control. Only then, whatever my lot, can I say “It is well with my soul.”

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Psalm 103:19

It is well with my soul because I know my God is on His throne, and He is not wringing His hands over whatever is happening here on Earth. He is in full control, and anything that happens to His children has been “filtered through His fingers of love,” as Kay Arthur says. He has a purpose and a plan for whatever challenges and trials he sends our way. And we can be confident in our eternal hope regardless of what grief or pain crosses our path in our earthly life.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

It is Well with my Soul
Words by 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.

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.

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.


A Dusty Frame said...

I often marvel too at the amazing faith it took to write something like this.

God's grace is apparent at the times of our deepest need. God must have been near to him in ways we cannot even imagine.
Thank you for participating.

Janna Rust said...

It is well, even if sometimes it doesn't seem that it is or should be. I liked your reference to Kay Arthur when you said that everything that happens to His Children on earth has been filtered through God's hands of love. Holding on to that truth makes things a little bit easier, huh?

Rebecca said...

It boggles my mind that such a beloved and well-known hymn was written in midst of such great tragedy. That can only be because of God.

This is one of my favorite hymns because of the incredible story behind it!