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.
In 1873 Horatio Spafford wrote this powerful hymn. Spafford was a wealthy businessman who lost his wealth in 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. Coming hard on the heels of this blow, his four daughters were killed in a shipwreck while crossing the ocean, sparing only his wife. As he himself was crossing the Atlantic shortly thereafter, he wrote these words as the Lord gave him utterance as he passed near the scene of the tragedy.
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.
He is speaking of the act of Jesus on the cross, as the pardon for all who are bound for Hell lest they accept His pardon. Even though things are going wrong on Earth, our souls are secure. Does that seem odd? Perhaps. It will seem so to both believers and unbelievers, though the former should see things more clearly. But we all struggle with our lot in life no matter the reason for this world is far from paradise, but we cannot help but hold on tightly at times.
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 nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
No matter what you are carrying, this is for you. Will you “bear it no more?” Will I? I’m not sure. But this I know with all of my heart this world is not my home. My burdens are, to me, severe sometimes, but no matter the weight, “it is well with my soul.” Someday I will lay my burdens down and carry them no longer. I can make it to that day for I know, no matter how long I carry them now, be it all the way till the end, someday I’ll be free and Jesus will be there waiting to embrace me in my newly glorified body where all pain and sorrow will be no more.
In the presence of the Lord, all things make sense, even now. He is our help when we are broken.
Horatio Spafford knew more grief than many will face here, yet he knew all was well with his soul because the promises of God are yes and amen.
It is well with my soul.
In that very instance that I am standing there, one hand reaching towards Heaven and one over my heart, I can say it is well with my soul, because I feel His hand reaching down and His assurance that He cares. And if I can understand all of that in an instant, removing all else, that is His perfect peace.