Thursday, February 28, 2013

It is Well with my Soul

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

                                                     Psalm 46:1-3

At the last Living Room meeting in Burnaby, someone mentioned the remarkable story of Horatio Spafford, the person who wrote the words to the well-known hymn, It is Well with my Soul. My friend told us how much that hymn has meant to her when she faced hard times. How she would quietly sing it to herself and get encouragement from it.

Spafford wrote this hymn during a time of traumatic losses in his life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially. His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873 at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family. In a late change of plans, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed with business problems. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with another vessel and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone . . .".

Shortly after all these tragic events, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died. The words were later put to music by Philip Bliss. Through this song, Spafford and Bliss have given hope to thousands.

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 hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul!

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

Oh, if I could only get such comfort from my faith! I hope this story and this song will inspire you as it has inspired me. The song is readily available on Youtube. My favourite version is here.

May God bless you and keep you, no matter what you might be facing.


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