It is Well With My Soul
~ Inspired by the story behind one of our favorite hymns ~
Incredible as it may seem, the man who wrote “It Is Well with My Soul” endured some of the most difficult trials imaginable. A respected lawyer, Horatio Spafford lost most of his considerable real estate investments in Chicago’s famous fire of 1871. In 1873, the ship carrying his wife, Anna, and their four daughters to Europe was struck by another ship and sank. All four of his daughters were killed. Anna survived and sent a telegram that opened with the words “Saved alone. What shall I do.”
Spafford soon left to join his grieving wife. He was greatly comforted by God when the ship passed over the approximate spot where his daughters drowned. This is alluded to in the words, “When sorrows like sea billows roll—Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well with my soul.”
How could Spafford possibly proclaim “It is well with my soul” in light of the numerous tragedies he endured, including the loss of his young son to scarlet fever? The song reveals at least two reasons. First, he knew that all of his sins had been “nailed to the cross.” Second, look closely at the final line. It begins with two short words (“Even so”) quoted from the final passage of the Bible. He longed for Christ’s return because he was convinced that he would dwell with His Creator and would be reunited with his precious children.
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