Sunday, February 18, 2007

It Is Well

Today in church we sang one of my very favorite old hymns, "It Is Well With My Soul." This simple but meaningful song seems to pop up at very significant moments in my life, which is probably part of the reason for my affinity for it. We sang it in church on September 9, 2001, the day before we buried my grandfather and two days before 9/11. If I remember correctly, we also sang it a year later on September 8, 2002, the week my friend Kevin died in a freak ATV accident. Over the years it has shown up at other moments when I particularly needed comforting and as we started singing today I realized its purpose. We had just finished gathering around my brother, Robbie, to pray for his upcoming surgery.

To understand the significance of this song it might be helpful to know the background. It was written in 1873 by a Chicago businessman named Horatio Spafford. In 1871, much of his property was destroyed by the Chicago Fire. Then two years later, the family physician recommended a vacation to benefit his wife's health. A family friend, Dwight L. Moody, was going to be preaching a series of evangelism meetings in England, so Mrs. Spafford and the couple's four daughters boarded a ship, with Mr. Spafford himself planning to follow a few days later. On the way to England, the Spafford's ship collided with another, and all four daughters were drowned. On his way to England to meet his wife, Mr. Spafford wrote the following words near the very spot that his daughters were killed.


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

Thou Satan should buffet, tho' trials should come,
Let this blest 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, it is well with 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!
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul.

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


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1 comment:

Megan said...

Jo, That's been my favorite hymn for years. Thanks for sharing the background and the lyrics on the blog. We have a painting from Timothy Botts based on this hymn...