It is Well with my soul
Updated: Aug 31
For the past few weeks, I have been listening to hymns a lot. Like all the classic ones and many modern ones too but the one thing I adore about them is that they are all so biblically grounded and very much comforting. However, there is presently one that especially made me contemplate many things about God, His promises, His attributes, and much more.
Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a successful lawyer and real-estate investor in Chicago. He and his wife, Anna, had one son and four daughters and lived a life of philanthropy and service in their church.
In 1870, things started to go wrong. The Spaffords’ only son died of scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later in 1871, the Chicago fire destroyed all their real-estate holdings. They made it through the next two years until, in 1873, tragedy struck again.
Horatio decided to take his wife and four daughters on a holiday to England to get away from their troubles and to help D.L. Moody on his evangelistic tour of Britain. They planned to visit Europe as a family, but business kept Horatio behind. He saw his family on the ship and made plans to catch up with them later.
On November 2nd, 1873, the ship carrying the Spaffords, had collided with an English vessel. It sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people among them were his daughters, Annie, Maggie, Bessie, and Tanetta. Only his wife, Anna, was spared. She sent a telegram to her husband which read, “Saved alone.”
One can only imagine Spafford’s grief upon receiving the news. It must have been paralyzing. But on his own voyage to meet Anna as his ship neared the place where his daughters had drowned he was inspired to write the lyrics for the hymn “It Is Well with my soul.”
Many Christians have the misconception that when they accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and repent of their sins, somehow they get a kind of protection that they will not face any trial of any kind and there will be no trouble but Jesus himself said that, “In this world, you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world.”
The world we live in is a fallen world and unless the day of the Lord comes we have to face problems, there will be relentless suffering.
In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we can see there that when they were about to be thrown into the furnace of fire because they did not bow down to the image of gold (ref. Daniel 3:12). There we see a tremendous example of faith, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods nor worship the golden statue that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 NASB)
Here we can see a tremendous display of faith, not in circumstances but in God.
The thing is yes He can, yes He is able but sometimes God in His sovereign will; choose not to let things change, not to heal someone, not to let the suffering end.
The real test of our faith is when we pray about something the faith is not great when we get a yes but the real test is when we get a no from God and we still trust in Him. It is not like He is not able and cannot do it but He chooses not to but He will still stay the God who is worthy, glorious and so magnificent.
Our faith is not of ourselves but it is a gift from God standing on His grace, His promises, not on something when He does for us or when we see any evidence.
In the valley of the shadow of death, we should trust Him that is what having faith is about, which is to trust Him not in just blessings but in the tears and sufferings too.
We need to focus on what Christ had done for us that was supposed to be our main focus. Not in ourselves but in the Person and work of Christ just like the writer of hymn focused on Christ and His work for our redemption from sin.
Just like Horatio wrote, whatever my lot you have taught me to say it is well, it is well, it is well with my soul. Even if tomorrow our whole world goes to pieces, our faith should be in God because whatever happens, it is all according to His sovereign plan. If tomorrow I got some sickness which is incurable or some affliction comes my way, I would still trust Him.
Yes, I know He is able and He can but even if does not He will still be God and I would still trust in Him.
Our faith is supposed to be on who God is and His works for our redemption through Christ, not on the raging sea around us but on the almighty God our savior.
Though he slay me yet will I hope in him. Job 13:15
I don’t know if you like hymns or not but I would recommend at least for once listening to this one. I’m posting the link to the versions I like.