Thursday, August 14, 2008

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea-billows roll:

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

"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- O 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!


And, Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds rolled back as a scroll,

The trump shall re-sound and the Lord shall descend,

"Even so"- it is well with my soul.



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


The above hymn was written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873.   Mr. Spafford was a prominent lawyer in Chicago.  On October 8, 1871, he and his wife Anna were grieving over the death of their son, when the Great Chicago Fire occurred.  Horatio had invested heavily in the real estate and the fire took almost everything he owned.

In 1873, the Spafford family decided to take a holiday in England where Horatio's friend D.L. Moody would be preaching.  Horatio was delayed by business so his wife and their 4 daughters Tannetta, Maggie, Annie and Bessie, went ahead without him.

On November 21, 1873, the ship that they were traveling on collided with an iron sailing vessel.  Two hundred and twenty-six people lost their lives, including the Spafford's four daughters.  Anna, alone survived.  Upon arriving in England she sent a telegram to her husband starting with "Saved alone".

Horatio took a ship to England to be with his wife and in the process passed the spot where his daughters had lost their lives.  While he was on the ship he wrote the words to the above hymn. (Information found on Wikipedia)


Every time I sing this song, I think of Horatio Spafford and his amazing faith.  What an awesome testimony for us all.  It alludes me how he could write this amidst so much grief.  I don't know if I could respond with such faith.  Would I be able to say "It is well with my soul", if I lost all of my children.  This hymn touches my heart so deeply, tears run down my face, when I raise my voice to sing.  It makes me think about my life.  At times I feel it isn't well with my soul, but when I sing this song I realize that I have nothing to complain about.  This hymn reminds me to take my eyes off myself and turn my gaze back to Lord.  God sent His son to die on the cross for me, a wretched sinner, so that it would be well with my soul.


Psalm 119:71 says "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." We discussed this concept in our Sunday School class a few weeks back.  Can we be a willing vessel in service to the Lord if God hasn't brought us to our knees first?  Do we fully rely on the Lord if we haven't dealt with some sorrow in our lives.  I know this is true for myself.  If I hadn't had to deal with my illness when I was 24, I would never have taken the focus off myself.  That illness helped me to become an empty vessel for the Lord to fill up with his love, mercy and grace.  I am now a more willing servant for the Lord and am continuing to learn the lessons He has for me.


"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.  Psalm 116:7


Lord, please help me to see you clearly.  Help me to turn my eyes to you.  Horatio Spafford lost so much yet, he was able to praise you and find peace in your love.  Lord, I pray that I will not focus on the difficulties I face.  Help me to give my life fully to you, so that I can say "it is well with my soul".

For more inspirational thoughts about our God visit Celly B for Thirsting for the Word Thursday.


  1. I can still hear my grandfather singing that hymn. He was a tiny man with a deep bass voice!

    The history is fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Truly one of my fave songs ever, and this story always makes me cry when I read it. Amazing faith and strength.

  3. Oh, amen, amen! We love that hymn, as well as the story behind it. Thanks for expressing it so beautifully.

  4. Thanks for sharing the history behind that hymn; it makes the music that much more inspiring.

    I loved your prayer, too; oh, that I could learn to have enough peace in difficult circumstances to say, "It is well with my soul."

  5. This is one of my favorite songs. It's one that makes me get to a certain place before I can play it on the piano. It usually brings me to that place. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  6. Beautiful post. I love that song! I have a friend who has been through tragedy, and though she still hurts, it is well with her soul and she inspires me.

  7. Thanks for sharing and telling us the real story behind the hymn.

  8. It is so funny to find your post on this song. I was thinking Wednesday night I'd post about it, too but then things happened and something else ended up on my blog. We attended a concert Wed. night and one of the artists performed this song and he sang it so richly and the Stafford's story ran through my head and then tears ran down my face. I can't help but thing the same as you - would my faith be as strong? And on and on the thoughts roll. Blessings to you my sister-in-Christ whose thoughts parallel mine this week. :)


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