Thursday Throwback – “It is Well with my Soul”

21 Jul

Hi guys! This is the first entry in a new set of blog posts that we’ll be doing every week. Every Thursday we’re going to pick a hymn and talk about it’s history and the Biblical significance of the lyrics. I figure it’ll help us understand what it is we sing when we sing these songs. On Monday we’re going to do the same thing with more contemporary music. I’ll let you wait until Monday to see what cool alliterative name we give that series of posts.

It is Well with my Soul

The song was written in 1873 by a lawyer in Chicago named Horatio Spafford. He and his wife Anna were the parents of five children.  They were well respected in the city and life was looking up for them until their youngest son died in 1871 of scarlet fever when he was four years old. After the death of his son, the Chicago fire wiped out every real estate holding that Spafford owned on the shore of Lake Michigan, costing him a huge sum of money. He decided after all of this happened that his family needed a vacation.

The Spaffords made their way to New York and were set to catch the steamer “Ville du Havre” across the Atlantic ocean to London. At the last minute a business opportunity popped up and Horatio needed to delay his departure to deal with it. He didn’t want to ruin his family’s much needed vacation, so he sent Anna and the kids across the Atlantic without him, telling them that he would catch another vessel and catch up later.

Disaster struck 9 days later when Horatio received a message from his wife via telegram.

It read: “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

The Ville du Havre had collided with another ship, and a large number of people on board died in the water, including all four remaining Spafford children. Anna had only survived by holding on to a floating plank until rescue.

When Horatio heard the news he boarded the next ship bound for London. On his voyage across the Atlantic, the captain called him to the bridge when they reached the wreck site of the Ville du Havre. Horatio, upon realizing where he was, went to his room and wrote these words:

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.

Makes you think that Horatio really understood this passage, huh?

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.


2 Responses to “Thursday Throwback – “It is Well with my Soul””

  1. Mitch Davis July 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Wow! Josh you continue to amaze me with how you minister to us. It blesses my heart to see God use you in such a magnificent way. Thanks for putting so much effort and love into the youth of WFBC!


  2. Cindy Rice July 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Brings a whole new meaning to the song!

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