“Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul”Horatio Spafford (1873)
A father stood staring into the deep ocean where his four daughters had drowned during a horrific shipwreck. The open grave of his small son and the substantial material loss suffered due to the great Chicago fire, still fresh in his mind.
These were the circumstances which grieved Horatio Spafford’s heart while he penned the well-loved hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows, like a sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Tho’ Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath 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 in whole,
Is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh, my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumph shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so”- it is well with my soul.
♫♪♫♪It is Well With my Soul – Horatio Spafford (1873)
Sung many times in the past hundred and fifty years, “It Is Well With My Soul,” has been covered by the likes of Hillsong and Anthem Lights (embedded above).
It has also inspired some modern Christian songs. Such as “Soul’s Anthem” by Tori Kelly, and “It Is Well” by Kristene DiMarco.
My favourite song on the contemporary Christian music scene which was partly inspired by this song is “Even If,” by Mercy Me.
“even if you don’t, my hope is you alone”MercyMe
These songs capture the heart when we face uncontrollable circumstances. The days we have to face life’s unsolvable problems.
It comes a time when every Christian realizes that walking with Jesus does not mean we can jump free of the trouble of this world. The bible states clearly that in this life we will have trouble, but during this time, we can have peace. (Read John 16: 33) Jesus never promised a trouble-free life. He promised to never leave us alone.
How do we face this trouble? Do we blame God and become angry? Or do we, like Horatio Spafford, cling to the blessed hope that Jesus gave us? Do we realise that when we are deeply troubled Jesus weeps with us?
Yes, Jesus is overcome with grief. He cries when we cry.
“When Jesus, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.”John 11:33 – 34 (KJV)
Jesus wept.John 11:35 (KJV)
It is in these times we need to ask Him to teach us how to trust him as Tori Kelly puts it “with more than just words”
In times of tribulation, and sorrow when we are faced with the fact that we have no control when we wish the mountains in our life could just be removed, we need to say, as MercyMe put’s it “My hope is in you alone”
Even if He does not remove the circumstances we face, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. His grace carries us through.
In such times it does good to remember the great blessings He gives us each day. Remember how He carried you in the past. Yes, count your blessings, one by one. What are you grateful for today? Even if it is just small things such as a hot shower, and a soft bed to sleep in.
When He permits the sorrow, He will also comfort.
“You had me face many troubles and plenty of misery, but you will bring me back to life; you will raise me from the depths of the earth.Psalm 71 vs 20&21 (FBV)
You will give me even greater prestige, and you will make me happy again.”
When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can walk on the waves (just like Peter). That is, we focus on Jesus, and not our circumstances. We praise him through the storm. We worship. We pray. Then we can be a light in the storm raging around us and we can say “it is well with my soul.”