Give me a word, Lord: IT IS WELL

Psalm 62:5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I have seen wall hangings, canvases, t-shirts, and a variety of other products with the words “it is well with my soul” beautifully scripted on them. The words are from a beautiful hymn written by Horatio Spafford in 1873 during a time of tremendous grief. Horatio was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago. He had 5 children with his wife, Anna. They lost one child to pneumonia in 1871, and later the same year, they lost much of their business to the great Chicago fire. They were no strangers to tragedy, but God was merciful and allowed his business to flourish again after the fire.

In 1873, Anna and the 4 surviving daughters boarded a French ocean liner for Europe. Horatio was supposed to go too, but had to stay back to attend business. He planned to join them later via a different boat. Four days into the journey, the ocean liner collided with another ship, and it went down. A sailor spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. Anna survived, but she had lost all four of her children. She wired her husband upon arriving in Wales, and he took the next ship to meet her. When the ship was about four days our, the captain called Horatio to his cabin and told him that they were over the place where the ship went down. According to a daughter born after the tragedy, Horatio penned “It is Well with My Soul” while on that journey. “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.”

Wow! I can not even imagine the sorrow, the emotions, or the grief, but I am amazed at his great understanding of God’s grace and mercy and peace. During the greatest tragedy of his life, Horatio knew that all was well because of Christ. I know too many people who become angry with Christ when they lost a loved one or when tragedy reared its ugly head, yet it is during those times that we see God show up and show out. We cry out to Him, and He hears us. He gives us a peace that trascends all understanding. Peace that can come only from Him. He gave that same peace to Horatio. He will give that same peace to you and I. No matter what trial you are facing, no matter how badly you are grieving, no matter how hard things appear to be, you can have peace and rejoice in knowing that God is going before you, and it is going to be alright. It is well, with my soul!

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