Is it Well with Your Soul?

This past week, my mom reminded me of a hymn we sang years ago at church. It was written in 1876 by a gentleman named Horatio Spafford. And although the words of “It Is Well with My Soul” may be familiar to you, the reason this hymn was written may surprise you.

Everything Was Going Well…Until

Horatio was a successful Chicago businessman with a thriving legal practice. Everything appeared to be perfect–married with four daughters and one son, well-respected in his community, a devout Chrisitan and well-versed in Scripture. Horatio ran in the same circle of great theologians of his day, including Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey, and various others.

Everything seemed to be going as planned, until the unexpected death of their son. Shortly thereafter, on October 8, 1871, nearly every real estate investment owned by Horatio was utterly destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire.

But Horatio did not crater. He rebuilt and pressed on, putting his faith and trust in the Lord. Two years later, determining his family could use a much-needed vacation, he made plans for a family trip to England. He sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while being delayed to take care of some last-minute business. However, just a few days later, he received word that his family’s ship had collided with an iron sailing vessel, resulting in the death of 226 passengers on board. All four of Horatio’s daughters were dead but somehow, his wife had survived the horrific accident. She sent word back to Horatio saying, “Saved alone.”

Can you imagine the weightiness of his soul at this moment?

What would it be like to be in his shoes? Would it be well with your soul? He boarded a ship to join his wife in England and while passing over the treacherous waters where his daughter’s lives were lost, he penned these famous words…

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.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

I don’t know if I can even fathom…I don’t know. Up to this point, my tragedies pale in comparison. But I do hope I would remain faithful even while losing everything. This marks the first anniversary of the loss of my friend’s son and I am reminded that this life we live is fleeting. Our troubles are merely temporary.

We do have eternity to look forward to.

We will see God’s goodness in due time.

“God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.” –Charles Spurgeon