Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Story Behind the Song

It Is Well With My Soul

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.

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.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Horatio G. Spafford

Monday morning September 2, 2013   Our group filed on to the platform at Pacific Garden Mission.  We sang this song.  The whole time I was thinking about the story behind the song. 

. . . the happy life of Horatio and his wife, Anna, and their five children -- four girls and one boy.  Everything seemed to be perfect for them in their Chicago home until their only son died of scarlet fever at the age of four.  Soon after that they lost most of the property they owned in the Chicago fire.   They helped the homeless and comforted the grieving people during that time.  They had planned a trip to Europe, but at the last minute Horatio had to stay behind to take care of unfinished business.  Anna and four daughters started out by ship.  In the middle of the journey their ship was struck by another ship and sank within twelve minutes.  Anna alone was rescued.  The four girls perished in the sea. 

When Horatio was on his way by ship to join his wife the captain called him on deck when they passed the approximate place where the girls drowned.  Later that evening Horatio wrote the words to this song. 

Now here we were more than a hundred years later singing this same song.  We sang it several times on the streets of Chicago.  Only the evening before a woman stopped and listened to the singing.  She stared at us with such concentration - when anyone blocked her view she moved to a new spot where she could see us and hear us.  When anyone approached her to talk to her or tried to give her a cd she stepped away as if mesmerized and kept on staring.

I hope she heard the words.  She is on our prayer list.  She is the one I see in my dreams and wake up to pray for in the middle of the night.

When I got home from Chicago I determined to read Run Baby Run by Nicky Cruz and look up the story about the Spaffords.  I've finished those two goals. 

When everything is peachy perfect will I remember to sing this song?  When life is full of chaos and seems out of control will I keep on singing, "It is well with my soul"?


Arla said...

But what IS peachy perfect? I want some. And I suspect it is our attitude in the midst of chaos that comes the closest. When God is there close to our hearts while the world is crazy around us.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, when life is "peachy perfect" sometimes my eyes are closed. and I'm grumbling, sad to say. The peaches have the wrong texture or the wrong color. They are too ripe or not ripe enough. The skin won't come off easily enough, the pit is stuck tight and you must squeeze the fruit to get that pit out. Last of all they don't even have a good flavor! (figuratively speaking) Yes, I have lots to learn. . . Thanks for your comment, Arla.