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It Is Well With My Soul

One of the most beloved aspects of our faith is the privilege we have of learning from the lives of the many incredible men and women who have gone before us. One of these examples comes from Horatio and Anna Spafford.

The Spaffords were a well known family in Chicago after the Civil War. Horatio was a much respected and popular lawyer who invested heavily in real estate while Anna was raising their five beautiful children.

In 1871, it all began to change. First, their young son died of scarlet fever. Then, they lost virtually everything in the Chicago Fire. In an effort to ease the pain of these tragedies, Horatio arranged for his family to travel to England where they could vacation while he assisted his friend, DL Moody, who would be speaking in there.

In November of 1873, his family boarded a ship for England. Horatio planned to join them at a later date, after settling some business at home, but in the middle of the night on November 22, his family’s ship collided with another. Nearly all of the passengers were lost to the sea. Anna was miraculously plucked unconscious from the waters by the crew of the other ship. When she was able, she telegraphed her husband the horrible news. Her message said, “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

Horatio was crushed and left immediately to join her. He found passage on the first available ship. While at sea, as he crossed the spot where his daughters had all perished, he was overcome by grief and, yet, God's comforting grace. As he thought of his own loss, he wrote the words to one of the most poignant and comforting hymns ever written. His friend, Phillip Bliss, later added the music. The tune, the lyrics and the story of pain and loss all come together to make a soulful, heart-rending hymn for all who hear it.


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.

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!


And Lord haste the day, when the 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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