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  • Writer's pictureShawn Thornton

It Is Well With My Soul

Sunday - February 21st

Scripture to Read Today: Psalm 46:1-3


God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

Today begins a new pattern in our Take5 devotionals. Each Sunday I will post the song lyrics of a hymn or worship song that currently blesses the church or has blessed the church in the past. I will then provide the story or a link to the story behind the hymn or song. I trust this will help prepare your heart for a Sunday of worship and praise to our God. We begin today with one of the most moving stories behind a hymn. Horatio Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” in a time of great distress. This hymn reflects the words of the psalmist in Psalm 46:1-3.

Here is the story behind the Hymn:

Horatio G. Spafford and his wife, Anna, were prominent people in 1860’s Chicago. As well as being a lawyer and business man, the Spaffords were also supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous preacher.

In 1870 things started to go wrong. The Spaffords’ only son died of scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later, the Chicago Fire destroyed all their real estate holdings on the shores of Lake Michigan.

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. The Spaffords traveled to New York in November of 1873 to catch a French steamer to cross the Atlantic. At the last-minute, a business development forced Horatio to stay behind. He saw his family onto the ship and made plans to catch up with them later.

On November 2nd 1873, the ‘Ville de Havre’, the ship carrying the Spaffords, had collided with The Lochearn, 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, in part, “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. The captain of the ship had called Horatio to the bridge and said, “A careful reckoning has been made and I believe we are now passing the place where the ‘de Havre’ was wrecked. The water is three miles deep.” Horatio then returned to his cabin, buffeted by the seas and his grief, and penned the lyrics of his great hymn – “It Is Well With My Soul.”

Here are the Lyrics:

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.


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 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 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 the 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.

No matter what happens in life, when we have Jesus it can be well with our souls!


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