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“It is Well with my Soul,” is written all over my house. I have it in three picture frames. I have it written on bracelets. I have it written on my heart. And you know what? There are a lot of days that I can look around my house and look down at my wrists and wonder if it is truly well. There are days I struggle to believe the wellness of my soul, because instead of believing in what my Lord has done in order to make my soul well, I struggle with everything else and how it seems incredibly far from well.

The hymn, It is Well with My Soul by Horatio Spafford is by far my favorite hymn. I have a few favorites, but this one? This one knocks me over just about every time I hear it. Even if the rendition is a bad one, the words remain the same and forever true. We had the hymn sung at both of our sons’ memorial services and it seems that it is sung the Sunday before one of the boys’ birthdays or before one of their going Home days. Coincidence? Maybe. Ordained. For sure. Sometimes I like it sometimes I don’t. But that is me, basing my likeness of the song on my feelings at the time. It depends on my week or my mood.

I find myself basing the Gospel on my mood or my feelings. It may be an amazing day and I’ll proclaim, “God is so good and amazing and incredible and fabulous!!!!” Then the next, I will hit a proverbial wall and struggle to believe that there is any God at all and wonder if he still cares or loves me while I am in my own pit of despair and sadness.

I have learned these last two years that it is well with my soul even if it is not well in my circumstances. It is well with my soul because the Lord has grabbed my wandering heart. It is well with my soul because Jesus lived a perfect life in my stead. It is well with my soul because that perfect life was sacrificed for me. It is well with my soul because that sacrificial Lamb conquered death and despite the gross darkness, the mindless shootings, the loss of lives too young to die, the fighting among ourselves, the lack of peace in our world and the lack of peace in our hearts, He gives us the security and hope of a life that is yet to come.

The story of this hymn is familiar to most everyone in the church. Spafford was a lawyer in Chicago, he had lost all he had to the Chicago fire. He had a son pass away from pneumonia at a young age. He and his family were planning a trip to Europe and his wife and daughter’s ship was shipwrecked on the way across the Atlantic. He lost four daughters that day to the shipwreck. His wife was saved and when he rode across the spot of the disaster he penned the words to this hymn. In our heads, we picture this man (and there have been paintings like this) gazing over the sea with the salty air blowing through his hair with paper and pen happily writing these uplifting words. The picture in my mind is different. It is a man, maybe even in his cabin, with a single candle lite penning the words through crushing grief, guttural cries and amazing gratitude for the Gospel. I can relate to a picture like that. I can related to dark rooms and guttural cries and gratitude for the Gospel.


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
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 hath 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!

It is well, because He has shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, because He has regarded my helpless estate.

It is well, because He has shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, because it has been nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.

It is well and that is more than enough for it to be well. Praise the Lord.

It is Well-Even if it is not so Well…