Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hymn Stories: 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.

Horatio G. Spafford wrote this hymn in 1873 after a series of traumatic events in his life. Just two years prior, he had witnessed the Great Fire of Chicago as it consumed the city and most of his financial investments there. Then while heading for vacation in Europe, his wife and four daughters decided to sail ahead as Spafford stayed behind a few extra days.

However, while sailing to Europe, their ship collided with a British vessel and sunk. His wife was found floating on a spar of the ship unconscious. His daughters drowned. Spafford received a telegram from his wife with the simple statement, "Saved alone. What shall I do..."

It was while on the voyage to bring his wife home and while passing over the location of his daughters' deaths that Spafford penned the words to the hymn.

Later, he would write to his wife's half-sister the following words, ""On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs."

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.
Spafford and his wife would have a son three years following this event. However, he would die at age four.


Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

1 comment:

robert said...

Thanks for telling the story behind Horation Spafford's beautiful hymn of faith, "It Is Well." It's one of my favourites--have sung it as a solo many times. And apparently it touches the hearts of many others too. In recent weeks I've been running a favourite hymn poll on my daily blog, Wordwise Hymns. Spafford's song is on top by a wide margin.

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