Growing up, I always loved the song It is Well With My Soul. My mom used to have a music box that would play it, and I could listen to it for hours because it was so beautiful. I still remember learning about the story behind the song when I was in fourth grade. I went to a Christian school, and my teacher played the song for us, then talked about why the author wrote it. I teared up when she told us about it, because it was such an amazing display of God’s grace, mercy and peace.
It is Well was written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873. He was a businessman in Chicago who met hardships and tragedies that I cannot begin to imagine. After loosing a son to pneumonia and a lot of his business in Chicago, he and his family decided to travel to Europe to help out his colleague Dwight L. Moody in one of his campaigns in Great Britain. However, due to unexpected business problems that arose, he was not able to travel with his family as planned. Spafford’s wife and four children went on to Europe, and he was expected to follow shortly. A few days into the journey, the ship his family was on collided with another ship and, in 12 quick minutes, Spafford’s life was changed forever. His wife was the only member of his family that was saved, and she wired “Saved alone” to him once she arrived safely in Europe. Spafford immediately left to meet up with his wife. As he was sailing near where the ship carrying his daughters had sunk, he wrote the beautiful words to It is Well.
In the midst of the hardest time in his life, Spafford was still grounded in his faith in the Lord. He had just lost all of his children in a horrible accident, yet he was able to say,
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.
My favorite verse is the fourth verse, which says,
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.
My family has been going through some tough times lately. I have not been faced with such heartache, despair and sorrow before. There have been good days and bad days, and everything going on around me can feel overwhelming at times. But, as Paul said in Philippians 4:7, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I have been able to see more than ever before how much peace we have in Christ. Not just in our salvation, but in knowing that He is sovereign over all things, and he works all things for the good of those who love them (Romans 8:28). In the midst of tragedy, I pray that I can continue to turn to God and say “it is well with my soul”. Because for me to live is Christ, and my every action should reflect that!