Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It is Well

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.


    Horacio Spafford had sent his family ahead of him to Europe in 1873,
    while he remained behind a few days to care for business. A few days
    later the ship in which they were travelling collided with another
    ship and sank. His four daughters from 11 to 2 years all drown in the
    tragedy, only his wife survived the ordeal. On his way to France to
    meet his wife the captain showed him where the ship sank. Standing on
    the bridge of the ship weeping and contemplating the loss of his
    precious daughters, he was moved with words from deep within.
    Returning to his cabin he wrote the poetic words of this heartfelt
    song, "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea
    billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, It is well,
    It is well with my soul." To add to their grief just a few years
    before the Chicago fire wiped out Spafford's real estate holdings and
    in 1871 their fourteen year old son died of scarlet fever. Christian
    friends accused them of some great secret sin that caused these
    tragedies to come on them resulting in the family being asked to leave
    the church. P.P. Bliss, the composer of the music, similarly was a man
    of suffering when in 1874 while traveling by train in Ohio, a bridge
    gave way and the train plunged into the icy river below bursting into
    flames. He escaped through a window but returned to try to rescue his
    wife and both died in the fire. This hymn of faith in the midst of
    tragedy has ministered to untold millions who have suffered in this

  2. What a heartbreaking story! And what a true, strong faith to still be able to honestly say, "it is well with my soul."