Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Is it well?

I am reading a book right now called Peace Like A River, a captivating book really (which I will discuss in a later post when I have finished reading it). Every time I see the cover or even think about the book, I find myself breaking into song, "It Is Well With My Soul."

Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

A couple years ago, I joined a Sunday school class for people 60+. It began as a project for grad school but I enjoyed being there so much that I continued to attend for nearly a year. One series that I particularly enjoyed was about hymns and their history. "It Is Well With My Soul" was one of the hymns that we studied.

Here is that story (with help from Wikipedia): the author of this hymn, Horatio Spafford, had two major events take place within just a couple of years of each other. The first was the great Chi­ca­go Fire in late 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man).

Hardly two years later, a greater tragedy struck. In 1873 his four daughters where lost when their ship, bound for Europe, collided with another in Mid-atlantic, and sank almost immediately. A lifeboat spotted Mrs Spafford and she was rescued. When she arrived in Britain, with the rest of the survivors, she sent her husband this brief, but telling message: 'SAVED ALONE.'

The words struck Horatio Spafford with full force and plunged him into deep sorrow. The great American evangelist D.L. Moody and his associate, singer Ira D. Sankey, were conducting a campaign in Edinburgh at the time. They were personal friends of the Spaffords and came down to London to give whatever help and comfort they could. They found their friends in surprisingly good spirits, strong in faith and able to say through their tears, 'It is well; the will of God be done.'

Three years after that tragedy, Spafford wrote his hymn "It Is Well With My Soul", in memory of his four precious daughters. Happily each of them had personally received Jesus Christ as Savior before embarking on that fateful voyage.
How would I react if I had faced those circumstances? Would I be able to say, "It is well with my soul"? Have I put my trust in the Sovereign God who will sustain me through such experiences?

Is it well with my soul even now when my life is relatively at peace?

I pray that regardless of the events of my life, I will be able to say with Horatio Spafford...

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.

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!

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.

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