Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hymn History - It Is Well With My Soul

It is Well With My Soul 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.

Horatio Spafford was the man who had everything. He was a prominent Chicago attorney who was active in real estate as well. He had wealth, a beautiful wife named Anna, five lovely children and a deep faith in God. However, their blissful life was to be short-lived.
In 1870, the couple lost their only son to scarlet fever at the age of four. The devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871 wiped out the majority of the Spafford's real estate investments and greatly injured the family's finances. Determined, they continued their charitable work - much needed in a city with 90,000 people made homeless. They were simply grateful that their home and their family had been spared in the fire.
At the invitation of longtime friend and evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, the family was invited to visit England, where Moody was setting off a revival. Anna was still reeling from the recent loss of her son and the exhaustion that followed the great fire. It was decided that the family would accept their friend's invitation and set sail for a holiday in Europe and then assist Moody in England. Horatio was detained by business at the last moment, but decided to send Anna and the girls, Annie, age 11; Maggie, age 9; Bessie, age 5 and Tanetta, age 2 off as planned, intending to join them in Europe soon. It was not to be.
On November 22, 1873, their ship, the Ville du Havre collided with another ship and sunk, killing 226 people - including all four of the Spafford children. Only Anna survived. She very famously sent a telegram to her husband, "Saved Alone - What shall I do?". Horatio set out for Wales, where Anna was waiting. As the ship he was traveling on passed over the spot where the Ville du Havre went down, he began to write the now famous hymn, It is Well With My Soul.


Kylie said...

I love this hymn; however, a part of me always giggles when I hear this song, but I have to mention why. This is Savannah's favorite hymn, and one she wants played at her funeral. The funny part comes in when she says as this song is playing, she jokes that she wants a string tied to her hands so it looks like she's waving to everyone because she's no longer here, but it is well with her soul now in eternal golory. The normal response from the rest of the family, well, really Julie, is "MOTHER! You want to freak out your grandchildren?!?!?!"

This is why we know this song as the 'dead' song.

In all seriousness, this is one of my favorite hymns as well.

April said...

*snort* That is so funny! I can so picture Savannah saying that.

Deborah said...

Another interesting post. While in church today, I did look up Iasaac Watts and all the hymns he wrote! We didn't have Sunday School today, I forgot, long weekend, but next week I am for sure going to talk about this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this reminder that, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, it can still be well with our souls.