IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
Horatio G. Spafford, 1828-1888
Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
Unclouded skies and gentle winds do nothing to test our vessel of faith. It takes the storm and tempest to prove the strength of our trust in the Almighty.The prophet Isaiah records that, God keeps in perfect peace all who trust in Him. (Isa. 26.3).Nowhere is this truth more aptly illustrated than in the story which accompanies the writing of the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul".Horatio G. Spafford lived, with his wife and four daughters, in Chicago. He was a lawyer by profession and a devout and sincere Christian.One day in 1873 he stood on the quayside in Chicago and bid farewell to his family as they set sail to visit relatives in far off Europe. He was not to realise that he would never see most of them again.Some days later their ship, bound for Le Havre in France collided with another steamship in mid-Atlantic, and sank almost immediately.Before it did so, however, Mrs Spafford was able to have a prayer with her children and commit them to the mercy of the Lord. That was the last time she would ever see them on this earth.Fortunately, a lifeboat spotted Mrs Spafford and she was rescued. When she arrived in Britain, with the rest of the survivors, she sent her husband this terse, but telling message: 'SAVED ALONE.'The words struck Horatio Spafford with full force, and, understandably, plunged him into deep sorrow. He left for England, without delay, to comfort his grief-stricken wife.The American evangelist D.L. Moody and his associate, singer Ira D. Sankey, were conducting a campaign in Edinburgh at the time. They were personal friends of the Spaffords and came down to London to give whatever help and comfort they could. They found their friends in surprisingly good spirits, strong in faith and able to say through their tears, 'It is well; the will of God be done.'Three years after that tragedy, Mr. Spafford wrote his hymn "It Is Well With My Soul", in memory of his four precious daughters. Happily each of them had personally received Jesus Christ as Saviour before embarking on that fateful voyage.It would be very difficult for any of us to predict how we would react under circumstances similar to those experienced by the Spaffords. But we do know that the God who sustained them would also be with us.No matter what circumstances overtake us may we be able to say with Horatio Spafford-
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. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control,That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,And hath shed His own blood fro my soul!It is well ... with my soul!
It is well, it is well, with my soul.