Authentic Compassion

Friday, November 9, 2007

It is Well

It Is Well With My Soul
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, with my soul,It is well, 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 has 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 the cross, and I bear it no more,Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my 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.
Horatio Spafford is the author of one of my dear husband's favorite hymns so I decided to do some googling. From a majority of reasonably reliable sources (the internet is a tool but not a gospel!)it appears that Mr. Spafford was a very active Christian and a friend/supporter of the great evangelist D.L. Moody. Spafford and his family were also active in the abolitionist movement (working for the freedom of those held in slavery). He'd had previous tragedy in his life (loss of a son, financial disaster from the Great Chicago Fire). According to sources including in November of 1873 Mr. Spafford planned to take his family to Europe for both a vacation and to help Moody in evangelistic work. Spafford was held up in Chicago but send his family ahead as planned. Due to a mid Atlantic collision with another ship, the ship carrying his family went down. All four of his daughters ranging in age from two to eleven, were among the 226 people lost that day. His wife was one of the few survivors and according to several reports sent her husband a telegram stating "Saved alone." He immediately left to join his wife in Europe. The captain of the ship upon which Spafford was traveling notified him when they passed over the spot where his children had perished. He was inspired to pour out his faith and grief in the words of It Is Well. Knowing the back story made it even more a statement of abiding joy for me. I often get high centered on that concept - that happiness depends on our circumstances but joy is an inner quality. Working on knowing that joy is my choice, can't always change our situation but can defnitely change how we choose to react. I am far from having that strength, but I see it often in a family from our church, the Ogles, struggling with years of cancer treatment. We hear from a pastor in Pakistan about how their church is embattled with violence and the chaos around them, but he has joy. Maybe one of the reasons we are discontented is we were made for eternity and this is all temporary. But is is well in Buhlaland and it is well with my soul. God isn't finished with me and y'all can be glad that He works on flawed vessels! Holidays are coming up - greed and pettiness seem to take root but we can choose to be joyful.

1 comment:

Pam said...

I have always loved that song, and the story behind it too.