This has long been one of my favourite hymns and a very emotional one for my Mom. Her Dad died in '84 or '85 and this was sung at his funeral.
The story of how this song came to be written follows:
In 1871, tragedy struck Chicago as fire ravaged the city. When it was all over, 300 people were dead and 100,000 were homeless. Horatio Gates Spafford was one of those who tried to help the people of the city get back on their feet. A lawyer who had invested much of his money into the downtown Chicago real estate, he'd lost a great deal to the fire. And his one son (he had four daughters) had died about the same time. Still, for two years Spafford--who was a friend of evangelist Dwight Moody--assisted the homeless, impoverished, and grief-stricken ruined by the fire.
After about two years of such work, Spafford and his family decided to take a vacation. They were to go to England to join Moody and Ira Sankey on one of their evangelistic crusades, then travel in Europe. Horatio Spafford was delayed by some business, but sent his family on ahead. He would catch up to them on the other side of the Atlantic.
Their ship, the Ville du Havre, never made it. Off Newfoundland, it collided with an English sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and sank within 20 minutes. Though Horatio's wife, Anna, was able to cling to a piece of floating wreckage (one of only 47 survivors among hundreds), their four daughters- Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie--were killed.
Horatio received a horrible telegram from his wife, only two words long: "saved alone." Spafford boarded the next available ship to be near his grieving wife, and the two finally met up with Dwight Moody. "It is well," Spafford told him quietly. "The will of God be done." Though reports vary as to when he did so, that belief led Spafford to pen the words to one of the English language's best-known hymns. Some say he wrote it on the ship to meet his wife, around the place where his
It is comforting to know that no matter what happens, God is right there & all is well, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. Those of us who are His children have the knowledge that we will see our loved ones someday in Heaven.
Of course, as my Great-Uncle Glenn once said to a cousin's hubby, and I paraphrase, "No offense, but I think I'm gonna spend the first thousand years or so praising God. After that, I might look ya up".
It Is Well With My Soul
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.
Lyrics found at Timeless Truths
Spafford's story found here.
Week 7 - The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Week 6 - Praise You In This Storm
Week 5 - Come Thou Fount
Week 4 - The Old Rugged Cross
Week 3 - Fairest Lord Jesus
Week 2 - Be Thou My Vision
Week 1 - A Mighty Fortress Is Our God