Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sunday Hymn: It Is Well With My Soul

It Is Well With My Soul

Horatio Gates Spafford
Born: October 20, 1828, North Troy, New York.
Died: October 16, 1888, Jerusulem, Israel, of malaria.

Written by Horatio Spafford, a Chicago lawyer, in 1873 after hearing news from his wife of the tragic death of their four daughters.

Horatio and his wife, Anna, were close friends of D.L. Moody and well known in the Chicago area.

Their troubles began in 1870 with the death of their only son who died of scarlet fever at age four. Then the Chicago Fire of 1871 occurred and fire destroyed his vast holdings in real estate on Lake Michigan.

Mr. Spafford decided to take his wife and four daughters on a much needed holiday to England where they would rest and also meet the famous preacher, D.L. Moody, on one of his evangelistic campaigns. A last minute business development delayed Horatio and it was decided that the rest of his family would go on as planned. He would join them later on. Nine days later, he received these words from Anna, his wife: "Saved alone."

The 'Ville de Havre' collided with 'The Lochearn' and sank in twelve minutes. Anna and her daughters stood clinging to one another and then felt the force of the waters upon them. Only Anna survived and at first she felt utter despair. She then recalled the words of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God."

Horatio joined his wife. During his voyage, the captain told him that he believed they were now passing the place where the ship wrecked. Horatio Spafford went to his cabin and penned the now familiar words of "It Is Well With My Soul."

His family's tragic loss has given hope to countless numbers of people who have sung the words to his hymn for more than a hundred years.

The words are as follows:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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 has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with 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!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with 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.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3



Music was written by composer Philip Bliss.


  1. Thank you for posting this, it's very odd that you would post this when our pastor had this be a song during our worship time last Sunday and talked about it during the sermon. It was one of those moments that ripped at my heart. My father is suffering from an illness that we are unsure as to what it is, and as you would expect in the course of talking, we talked about if it could be cancer. The thought of losing my father brings me great pain, but yet I have peace knowing that he is looking forward to going home to be with our Heavenly Father. He is not afraid of where he is going, yes he is worried about how he will get there, but not about the arrival. I know that someday it will be my turn to make that passage home too, but when you think about loosing family that is close to you, you can only pray for that peace like a river to flood your soul.
    Thank you again for sharing. All to often we forget where our strength comes from.

  2. One of my favourite hymns....thank you for posting. I ministers to my spirit every time I hear or sing that song.

    Lord bless and keep all of you.


  3. Such beautiful words penned from pain.

    I am praying that your family is finding the words to be truth in your own lives...

    Would you be willing to update us on your children who were injured physically due to the tornado?

    God Bless You!

  4. Oh Sherry...this hymn makes me weep every time I hear it. Some of the tears are born of sadness and grief, but most of them come from knowing a God that would bring us comfort even in times of great sorrow. Thank you for posting this. I am so grateful for a way to keep up with how your family is doing. Lisa~

  5. I love this poem, but it is the 'story behind the words' that makes the words so precious. What grace...
    Praying these words are deep in your soul too... I've prayed often that they would be x

  6. God Bless you, Mrs. Lee! Could you please contact me @ emaildusti at yahoo dot come, I need to obtain an address for an offline friend who wishes to send you something.

  7. Hi Sherry. This is Charles Cook's daughter, Dana. I don't think I've commented yet. I found your blog after the loss of Tom. It's been 8 yrs. since I seen you and your family. This song always makes me teary-eyed. Thanks for posting.