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It is Well with My Soul
by Dr. Brad Black 
01/18/10
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It is Well with My Soul

One of my favorite hymns of all time is “It is Well with My Soul.” I love the words, and when you find out the circumstances behind the writing of the hymn, it will melt your heart.

The composer is Horatio P. Spafford. In the late 1800’s he was a very rich, influential lawyer in the Chicago area. He had large land holdings in Chicago along Lake Michigan. He was also one of many business men who helped Dwight L. Moody get started in his ministry out of Chicago.

If you remember your history, in the late 1800’s in Chicago there was a very famous fire, known as the Great Chicago Fire, started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. This devastated both Chicago and Spafford. While Chicago rebuilt Spafford decided that he would take his whole family to England where Dwight L. Moody was holding revival meetings to help his good friend. The night before they were to leave, Spafford received last minute papers informing him that he had to be in court the next day to keep his rights to all the property he had on Lake Michigan. He decided to send his wife and four daughters on ahead to England, he would stay and take care of the legal problems and join them after everything settled. He thought it would only take a few days.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the English ship “Lochearn” heading to America, struck the ship that held Mrs. Spafford and her children. The Spafford’s ship sunk in 12 minutes. Mrs. Spafford survived but four little girls did not. When Mrs. Spafford finally got to England, she sent a wire saying, “Saved alone.”

After receiving the telegram, Spafford boarded the next ship heading to England. Spafford made friends with the Captain, and explained why he was on the ship. When the Captain got to the spot of the shipwreck, he stopped the ship for an hour and let Spafford sit on deck by himself and pray for his daughters. During this hour on the deck, Spafford wrote the first stanza to “It is Well with My Soul.” After the ship got under way, he went back to his stateroom and finished the song.

While working with Moody he shared the verse with some of the staff and they added music to the words. They called the tune called “Ville du Havre” for Mrs. Spafford’s ship. Moody started using the song in his revivals, and the song became very popular as Moody traveled around the world.

It blows me away that Spafford could write this after such a great tragedy, I know I would have troubles in a similar situation. Nevertheless, it also shows how we are to react in tragedy, we are to trust in God and believe that He is in control. Please read the words of the song below.


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.
Refrain
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.
Refrain
My sin -- oh, the bliss of this glorious tho’t:
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!
Refrain
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.
Refrain
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!
Refrain
And Lord, haste the day when the 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.
Refrain


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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