<< history >>
Between 1871 and 1874 Horatio Spafford lost nearly everything. His son and four daughters died, his city suffered the Chicago fire, his business suffered, and he almost lost his wife. It's a difficult time to imagine. On the way to Europe his daughters died when the ship sank, but his wife survived. As he traveled to Europe to meet his wife the Captain of the ship he was on let him know when they crossed the point where his daughter's died. It is said this is when he was inspired to write this hymn.
<< the hymn and me >>
I have always loved this song. The melody is haunting but the words speak of such suffering and peace. My favorite quote, while not connected, shares the same theme. All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of all thing shall be well. ~ Julian of Norwich
This song changed for me in 2007. I lost a dear friend that year. An internet friend. It sucked not being able to go to the funeral, even though a representative (several) were there for those of us who loved her. I'll never forget the following Sunday at church they sang two songs which are now forever seared into my brain as Nattie songs. This one, which was done as a special, and the other one which escapes me when I try to name it but calls to me whenever I hear it. Similar in theme but contemporary. It turns out they were both played at her memorial service as well. It made me feel as if I was there, in some weird way.
I realized last night there may be a reason Horatio chose the word soul. When hard things happen it isn't well with my mind. My mind can be crippled by the horror and pain. My mind doesn't always understand why hard things happen. I may not ever have that "why" regardless of how many times I ask the question. When hard things happen it isn't well with my body. My body can be the source of the hard. I can be in pain, or my heart can feel as if it is breaking in two. When hard things happen it isn't well with my strength. Sometimes it fails me. Sometimes the failure of our strength is the source of pain and sorrow. No, the only way it can be well is with our soul.
Why is there sorrow in this world? Because life is full of sorrow and pain. I can not explain. But I am grateful that I do know God will carry me through the hard times, and give me hope for the future.
<< the hymn >>
When peace like a river, Attendeth my way, When sorrows, like seas billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has 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.
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious tho't, My sin not to part But the whole
Is nailed to the cross And I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul!
O, Lord haste the day When my faith shal 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.
Words: Horatio G. Spafford, Music: Philip P. Bliss