It Is Well…

The power of music, in  my view, is second only to the power of God’s Word when it comes to touching us to the very soul.  Combine the truth of God’s Word with music, and we have an incredibly powerful tool to help plant great comfort, solid biblical doctrine, and even conviction in the hearts of mankind.

One such song/hymn that stands about among the greatest – indeed it is my unquestioned favorite, is It Is Well, sometimes called “Peace Like a River”.  With words penned by Horatio Spafford, and music by Phillip Bliss, this hymn cuts directly to the core of the matter – the absolute truth that, for those who have completely trusted the Savior Jesus Christ, even the worst this world can deal out to us can be handled and overcome by the very grace of God.  There is unbelievable comfort in truly KNOWING the Savior.  Not a promise of ease or physical comfort – but He does promise to never leave us or forsake us Hebrews 13:5-6!

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!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of 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.

Spafford truly understood what he was writing.  This hymn followed two massive catastrophic, life-changing events in his life.  The first was the “Great Chicago Fire” of 1871 in which destroyed him financially.  The second, and more poignant was the loss of all four of his daughters when the ship they were traveling on in the Atlantic collided with another ship.  His wife, Anna, sent him the telegram message “saved alone”.

Several weeks later, when Horatio was able to travel, he asked the ship’s staff to let him know when they neared where the collision had occurred.  When the time came, he went out on the deck and watched the sea “billows” roll, while contemplating what had befallen him. But instead of being overcome with grief, great comfort came over him – and the words of this great hymn were the result.

Horatio Spafford knew the grief of painful loss.  Yet his faith in his Savior sustained him – and gave him a message in music to help us today.  Know that the Lord is with you.  And cling to the last verse – come sweet Jesus!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s