It is Well With My Soul
written by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
music by Phillip P. Bliss, 1876
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, 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, 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!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of 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.
* * * * *
The Lord has spoken to me through a new song. For the longest time, the verse and various versions in song of "Be Still and Know I Am God" followed me around like a parent's gentle, yet insistent, nudge. I pondered the verse, sang the songs, even wrote my own song to the verse...it consumed me.
Now God has put the hymn, "It Is Well with My Soul," on my heart and I am turning my attention to it and what God wants it to mean to me - and possibly to you.
The story behind the song is miraculous in itself. The maker of this video on youtube does a beautiful job of explaining it.
When I read the story in my comforting, soft-leather-bound book, "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan, this evening, my eyes filled with tears. What tragedy befell that man and look what he wrote.
"Saved alone," his wife cabled to him after his four daughters had perished in a shipwreck. "What shall I do?"
There are so many things Horatio Spafford could have done. Can you imagine? He could have torn his hair out and grieved so deeply that he gave up on life completely. He had lost his only son at the age of 4 and now, years later, he had lost his 4 daughters. All of his children, gone. His wife, a rare survivor of the shipwreck, on the other side of the Atlantic asking him, "what shall I do?"
"Horatio Spafford immediately booked passage to join his wife. En route, on a cold December night, the captain called him aside and said, 'I believe we are now passing over the place where the Ville da Havre went down.' Spafford went to his cabin but found it hard to sleep. He said to himself, 'It is well; the will of God be done.' He later wrote his famous hymn based on those words."
~ from "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan.
And then, as the video on youtube tells us, Haratio Spafford and his wife went on to spread the Gospel in Jerusalem to Jews and Muslims. This was in the late 1800s. Amazing.
The way I feel tonight - it is so not well in my soul.
I thought about what that phrase means and I narrowed it down to this:
It is well with my soul = I am content trusting God completely with my past, present, and future.
It is well with my soul means that I cannot try to control my circumstances or people in my life.
It is well with my soul means that I cannot impose my own will on other people.
It is well with my soul means ...
that I must be still and know He is God.
Oh, God, how circular this all is! It's like a dance of verses and song and whispers from You during these dark, sad nights...
It is so often not well with my soul, but then again...I'm one of the people who needs to sing those words the most - and believe them.
My soul can only become well through trusting by faith.
So although what I see is pain right now
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,"
I must believe that God is working behind the scenes on what is unseen
"but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18
because God promises me an eternal future and I know, I know deep deep down...
when I fix my eyes on Him
all is well.
And sometimes that is all you need.