God Moments, History of Hymns

It is Well with My Soul

I love history.  All types of history fascinate me.  I believe that is one of the reasons that I love reading the Bible as much as I do, because I enjoy reading about the past.  When I read fiction, the first books I am drawn to are historical in nature.  When I write I enjoy the research that is involved with writing about past events.   It is an interest that God has blessed me with and I am thankful for it, because I feel that there is a lot we can learn from the past.  We can learn how not to repeat the same mistakes, how to make better choices, how to live more productive lives, and we can also learn how to live a simpler less complicated life.

We have been teaching our kids hymns, each night before they go to bed; we pick a hymn and sing it together.  This is something we have been doing together for over a year now; we enjoy the family time it brings about before bedtime.  Growing up, we occasionally sang hymns in church, but as an adult the churches I attended didn’t sing from the hymnal, so I had forgotten most of the hymns by the time I met Dan.  Once we started dating, we began attending a small Bible church, where they sang from the hymnal every week.  Over the next 10 years, we enjoyed this type of worship but now we are attending a church where they don’t use the hymnal and I find I miss it.  I love the music at our new church, but I am thankful that we are teaching our kids hymns.  There is something wonderful about singing a song written a hundred years ago and finding the words are still relevant today.  I feel as if we are passing on a piece of history to our kids and I love it.

One of things about hymns that fascinates me is their history.  I often wonder about the person who wrote it.  Why did they write this song? What was going on in their lives that led them to pen these words?  One hymn that has an amazing story behind it is, It is Well with My Soul.  It brings me such hope to read Horatio Spafford’s story and the hymn that he wrote while struggling with the grief of losing his children.  To know that after facing such heartache and loss, he still clung to his faith is just amazing. I hope you are encouraged too.

Be a blessing today!

I have copied the following text from http://www.sharefaith.com.

It is Well with My Soul, the Song and the Story

Composer Horatio Spafford, It is Well with My Soul

Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..

Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford’s life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.

It Is Well With My Soul

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 (it is well),
with my soul (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 His 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.


And Lord haste the day, when my 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.


The picture posted above was borrowed from: http://the-chronicles-of-nat.blogspot.com/

4 thoughts on “It is Well with My Soul”

  1. I’ve heard this story before. I love that his faith was so strong and he praised this Lord in his sorrow. I pray I never experience this sorrow but I know my Lord is with me no matter what he puts in my path. Beautiful blog today.


  2. Terri, I am so happy that I could share it with you. I love this hymn and knowing the story behind it certainly makes it even more special. Thanks for reading. Your encouragement means a lot.


  3. Beautiful words Stacey. Thank you so much for sharing. The last song I sang in choir at my old church before I got married was this one. It holds a special place in my heart. I never knew the story behind it. Thank you again for sharing


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