It is Well (With My Soul)

horatio_spaffordThis past weekend, I mentioned the story of Horatio Spafford in the midst of concluding our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times.”

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer in Chicago in the mid-19th century. As Kenneth Osbeck recounts,[1] “along with his financial success, [Horatio Spafford] always maintained a keen interest in Christian activities,” including a supportive relationship with Christian leaders of the time, such as D. L. Moody.

“Some months prior to the Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford had invested heavily in real estate on the shore of Lake Michigan” [but unfortunately] “his holdings were wiped out by this disaster….[Knowing that] his wife and four daughters [needed a rest,] as well as wishing to assist [in an evangelistic campaign in Great Britain]…Spafford planned a European trip for his family in November of 1873. Due to unexpected last minute business developments, he had to remain in Chicago, but sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled….He expected to follow in a few days.

“On November 12, the ship was struck by…an English vessel, and sank in twelve minutes. Several days later…Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband: ‘Saved alone.’ Shortly afterward Spafford left by ship to join his bereaved wife. It is thought that on the sea near the area where his four daughters had drowned, Spafford penned” the words of the hymn, “It is Well with My Soul,” later set to music by Philip Bliss.

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.

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.

And Lord, haste the day when 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

[1] This illustration drawn from Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2012), 127-128.

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