It is Well with my Soul

Horatio Gates Spafford (1828-1888)

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows, like a sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Another old hymn… that I love because of its old-fashioned language, its story, and its truth and hope.

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

Horatio Spafford was devout Christian and successful Chicago lawyer, with a wife, a son and four daughters. Things changed. His son tragically died; the Great Chicago Fire ruined him financially.

He was to travel to England with his wife and daughters. Plans changed; he sent the family ahead as he was delayed on business. While crossing the Atlantic the ship sank. All four of Spafford’s daughters died; his wife Anna survived.

Travelling to meet his grieving wife, Spafford wrote these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

Tho’ Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Yesterday I ‘attended’ my daughter Jo’s graduation. After studying for several years, live on Facebook she ‘received’ her certificate. Proud father. It is well with my soul.

On Friday I ‘attended’ my sister-in-law Stephanie’s funeral on Zoom. The rector spoke of a good life well lived, of a strong, kind lady, who lived with energy, humour and a deep faith in God.

The reading was 1 Thessalonians 4:(13-18). It speaks with clarity:

  • Return: Jesus will come back.
  • Resurrection: Death is not the end.
  • Reunion: We shall be with each other and ‘the Lord’.

And Lord, haste the day when the 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.

2 thoughts on “It is Well with my Soul

  1. What a moving story to how this song was written. Went on the web to find more information. Came across a Christmas Concert narrated by Hugh Bonnerville. It acts out the Spafford story very poignantly and great to hear also that the Spafford Children Centre in Jerusalem is still operating to this day, with some of Horatio’s Grand Children involved. What a family. Sometimes we doubt things, or wonder why, but — should we ?


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