It is Well with My Soul

Fire and water. Fire and water and illness. Horatio G. Spafford stood by the rail of the ship and looked down into the the lightly flowing waters of the Atlantic, thinking slowly of what he did not like to think of. His only son, when only four years old, had died from scarlet fever only a couple of years before. A year later, Horatio, his wife, and his four daughters had faced financial ruin when the Chicago fire wiped out several very heavy investments that he had made. Two years later, Horatio was in New York ready to go on a vacation. Being detained, he sent on his wife and children across the Atlantic to Europe. Nine days later, he found out by telegram that all but his wife had perished from a collision with another ship. Water had claimed his daughters, fire his wealth, and illness his son.

Now, as he stood on the deck of the ship that was bearing him to go to his wife in England, he was told that the ship was very near to where his daughters had gone down. It was standing there, looking down in the face of that which stole his dearest possessions, that the Holy Spirit’s calm spoke into his heart and overflowed out into words that have stirred the hearts of many Christians since with a passion for God’s transcendent peace.

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, 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.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with 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!


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with 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.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

What does this song, born out of true nearness to God in the face of tragedy, speak to us? Summed up in this beautiful hymn is the message of the book of Job. The passion with which Horatio proclaimed the goodness of God in the face of deprivation was founded in a clear understanding of what God had to offer him, and what He had already given to him.

God’s blessings to us are transcendent: they are not dependent upon worldly circumstances. His salvation is true to us, a mighty rock no matter what ill betide. His coming is sure, and without doubt. Nothing that rages against us can shake His mighty love for us, nor can it still His passionate mercy by which we draw every breath we take. God is great in our trials; He rules and reigns and does what is good; and allows us to partake of His righteous peace that passes all understanding.

But for us to partake of the eternal security of His might, we must set our affections upon Him. Without us yielding to His assurances that He is worthy, we cannot be secure from fear and trouble in our hearts. We cannot retain our treasures on earth, and still have heavenly peace! Is salvation and sanctification and God’s eternal and infinite glory and pleasurable joy your treasure? Do you love Him more than houses or wealth or children or family? Horatio G. Spafford did in the face of the loss of all those things, and we need to learn from him.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

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2 Responses

  1. I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

    • Jim,

      Thank you for the encouragement! I am glad that people are finding my effort worthwhile. It is hard, but it is worthwhile for God’s glory. How did you find my site, by the way? What did you like best about it?

      With joy and peace in Christ,
      Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

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