Thursday, June 12, 2008

It is well with my soul

Given the events of the last few days (check out previous post), I decided to ponder a little deeper on this hymn. Here's what I found on wikpedia:

This hymn was writ­ten af­ter several trau­matic events in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chi­ca­go Fire which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross­ing the At­lan­tic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with an­o­ther ship, and all four of Spaf­ford's daugh­ters died. His wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spaf­ford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daugh­ters had died.

The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom (a son) died in infancy. In 1881 the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Palestine. The Spaffords moved to Jeru­sa­lem and helped found a group called the Amer­i­can Col­o­ny; its mis­sion was to serve the poor. The col­o­ny lat­er be­came the sub­ject of the No­bel prize win­ning Je­ru­sa­lem, by Swed­ish nov­el­ist Sel­ma La­ger­löf.

This man really lived a Job-like life...and yet, these are the lyrics that he penned:

It is well with my soul:

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

It makes me think about the silly trials in my life (disciplining a 2-year old, keeping my house maintained, whinyness-mine and Noah's). The Lord is still there whether your trials are trivial or despairing. I need to find the place in my heart again where I can say, with confidence, "It is well with my soul". The events of this last week have pushed me just a little bit closer, but I am still reaching.


Amanda said...

I've listened to this song a lot when missing my Mom. I really like the version by Audio Adrenaline.

Ann said...

I love this hymn, and the story behind it. You know it's God when you can say "it is well with my soul" in the middle of hardships like his!

Laura said...

thank you for this reminder. what a good song with a good testimony backing it.