I have always loved the classic hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. It’s a beautiful [and famous] song that’s sung in most Christian churches around the globe. It’s filled with lyrics that speak of surrender, peace, and complete trust in a God Who is good and sovereign. One verse says, “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.”
What I didn’t know is that the author of this song – Horatio Spafford – wrote this hymn nearly a week or so after his wife and four daughters set sail on a luxury steam liner to Paris for holiday in 1873. While he stayed behind to finish up some last minute work, the rest of his family boarded the ship. After a short time at sea, their steam liner was rammed by a British iron sailing ship and had sunk in the middle of the ocean. Horatio’s wife was rescued after being found unconscious – but his four daughters drowned and were killed. Once Horatio got word from his wife about the tragedy via telegram, he boarded a boat to reunite with her. As he sailed across the exact spot where the steam liner sank (and where his daughters were killed) – he penned the words to It Is Well With My Soul.
Hectic. The tragedy that Horatio faced while writing the lyrics to this song gives it an entirely new and significant meaning. Every time I listen to the lyrics play over my iPhone speakers – I am greatly challenged by this man’s faith, and I am greatly confronted with the lack of my own.