Sunday, May 04, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays "It is Well"

This hymn and the story behind it are so powerful. Horatio Spafford was a lawyer who lived in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In a four-year span, his life was turned completely upside down. He lost his only son in 1870, then in 1871, the Great Chicago fire burned down the city, and he lost most of his assets. Finally in 1873, he sent his wife and daughters to England on holiday, only to receive a telegram from his wife saying "saved alone." The boat that they were on had gotten caught in a storm, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. As he sailed to England to join his wife, he penned this hymn when the ship passed over the spot where the boat carrying his family had sunk.

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, (it is well),
With my soul, (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!
Horatio Spafford

How often can we say, as our lives are turned completely upside down, that "it is well with my soul"? That no matter what happens, my soul is at peace, I can rest in the Lord, God has my back. At what had to be one of the lowest points of his life, Horatio Spafford had the courage and the depth of faith to say "it is well." Can we make this our prayer too? That no matter what may happen to our bodies, our minds, in our earthly lives, we will still declare that "it is well" when it comes to our souls?

Be blessed and shine from your soul!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23