Not long ago I was talking with a friend, and she told me about a young woman who had just died of cancer leaving her young children motherless. The hymn, It Is Well with My Soul was sung at her funeral. My friend asked if I knew the history behind the hymn. I do, and it's one of my favorite hymns. The very next Sunday [8/16] we sang it at my church, so I decided to share it on Sunday Reflection.
The hymn was written by Horatio Spafford in 1873 under tragic circumstances. It was published in 1876, and has been an enduring hymn of the church ever since.
Mr. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago, but The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed almost all of his real estate investments. In November 1873, he planned a trip to England with his wife and four daughters for a much needed vacation. He intended to sail with his family, but when unexpected business arose he sent them on ahead, with plans to join them a few days later.
While crossing the Atlantic, their ship collided with another ship and quickly sank, and the four Spafford children perished. A sailor spotted Mrs. Spafford floating on a piece of wreckage and rescued her. When the vessel docked she wired her husband saying, "Saved alone, what shall I do?" Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship to join his grieving wife. The ship's captain told Mr. Spafford when they passed over the place where the ship went down and his children perished, and he penned the words to the great hymn.
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."
Chorus: It is well with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul.
How wonderful to have steadfast faith in the midst of life's gravest circumstances and situations.
May God bless your week!