The first time I remember hearing the hymn It Is Well With My Soul was in August of 2001. It is possible that I had heard and even had the opportunity to sing the song before. But it was at my Grandmother’s funeral that I first clearly recall hearing the song. The song is forever tied to Grandma Marilene in my memories now. For a long time I after, I couldn’t hear the song without crying. As for singing the song–yeah, right. That wasn’t likely to happen at all!
My next clear memory of the song came about 3 ½ years later, after my miscarriage. I was in the shower, crying in pain when the song came into my head. For a moment, I felt like God was reaching out to hold me. Singing the song then did make me feel better for a moment, though I can’t say that it changed much in the long run.
Have you ever heard the song? In many ways it is a sad song. At the same time, it holds a message of hope. The basic meaning of the song is that times might be tough, but by trusting in God through it all, you can have peace in your song.
Ever more sad than the song is the story behind how it was written. The song was written by an American lawyer named Horatio Spafford in the late 1800’s. Mr. Spafford knew a bit about tragedy–first he lost most of what he owned in the Chicago fire of 1871. Two years later, his wife and four daughters were taking a trip to England. The ship they were sailing on sank, and only Mrs. Spafford survived. While traveling to England himself to meet up with his wife, Mr. Spafford wrote the lyrics to the song.
It is amazing to me how he could even think the words “It is well with my soul”, let alone write them, in the midst of such a personal tragedy. It’s been six years since my miscarriage and there are times when I don’t feel like anything is well with me, least of all with my soul. It shows the deep love of God this man and the close relationship he shared with his Savior that he was able to write a song that speaks to the hearts and souls of Christians over 100 years later.