Sunday, November 30, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul.

Most long-time Christians would agree that one of the great and moving hymns of all time is It Is Well With My Soul. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one clings to the lyrics of this 19th century song when facing trials and tribulations.

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 blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

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

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

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

Until recently, I had no idea of the circumstances which inspired such spiritual, faith-filled words.

In 1871, a wealthy businessman name Horatio Spafford basically lost his entire fortune in the Great Chicago Fire. The married father of four had invested much of the money he earned as an attorney in the city’s real estate market.

Two years later, the Spafford family decided to travel to England for vacation. However, Horatio’s travel was delayed due to business obligations, thus he sent his family on ahead of him with plans to join them later. While crossing the Atlantic on the Ville du Havre, the four Spafford daughters were tragically killed as a result of the ship being struck by an iron sailing vessel. Anna Spafford, Horatio’s wife, survived but was left with the heart wrenching task of telling her husband that their four daughters had perished. Mrs. Spafford merely sent a two word telegraph message: SAVED ALONE.

Shortly thereafter, Horatio sailed to Europe to join his wife. When his ship reached the site of where his daughters died, Mr. Spafford was inspired to pen the lyrics of that timeless hymn. In doing so, his faith and peace in the face of a horrific tragedy continues to serve as an inspiration to us all.



Night Writer said...

That hymn is one that the Mall Diva and her best girlfriend have sung lately at a couple of coffee shops where they've performed. Last week we were back in Missouri where my two grandmothers are in the same nursing home. One of them had asked if my girls and Ben could come and sing hymns at the Manor on Friday so they (along with the Diva's friend who came along) rehearsed some songs Thanksgiving day. On Friday they sang for about 40 minutes then went to look in on my other grandmother, who is 101. Both she and her roommate are pretty much out of it all the time, but the kids sang "It Is Well With My Soul" all the way through softly for the sleeping women. The roommate, Wanda, never opened her eyes but bobbed her head and moved her lips as they sang.

We learned today that Wanda passed away Saturday morning. One of the last things that may have registered with her was that song.

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Guitarman said...

That is a beautiful hymm. Christine Lavin (though I hate her Politics) got it right in song, please don't make me too happy! She writes better music when she's not happy! Is there something to be learned here?

StarBittrune said...

You're talking about one of my most favorite hymns, though it's frustrating because I always break up by the last verse - voice goes, can't finish the song.