It Is Well

Without the grief of my death on Good Friday, you would never understand the joy of my resurrection on Easter Sunday.

I was at a Music Gala Benefit at the Kimmel Center here in Philadelphia last Friday where the last song sung was, “It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. After watching and listening to such talented performers, it was soothing to me to hear this song and be reminded that no matter what circumstances come my way, it is well with my soul because God is on the throne.

stock-footage-christian-crosses-on-a-hill-at-sunsetFor those who are not familiar with Horatio’s story, he was a great man of faith and a wealthy lawyer/businessman who was born in New York in 1828. He settled in the Chicago area, married and had five children.

In 1870, Horatio experienced the first of several tragedies. His only son, four year-old Horatio, Jr., died of scarlet fever. Then, in 1871, the Great Chicago fire swept through destroying a third of the city and causing Horatio to lose most of his life fortune. In spite of this, he and his wife were grateful that their family and house had been spared, and worked tirelessly to help others. For the next two years, they devoted their time to feeding, housing and caring for the many victims who were trying to put their lives back together.

Two years later, Horatio decided to take his family on a much-needed vacation to Europe to see their friend and the great preacher Dwight L Moody. An urgent business matter wound up detaining , but he sent his family ahead planning to join them as soon as he could.

Sadly, the ship they were on, hit another ship and sank within 12 minutes. There were 226 deaths and only 47 survivors. His wife, frail and weak, survived, but his four daughters perished. After reaching shore, his wife sent him a telegraph, stating, “Saved alone, what shall I do.”

Horatio quickly chartered a boat to join his wife. When they passed by the sight where the captain thought his daughters had drowned and his wife alone had survived, the captain summoned Horatio. Horatio found it hard to sleep that night and penned the words to his well-known hymn, “It is Well with My Soul.”

This song is especially apropos on Good Friday where we see our Lord mocked, scourged, beaten beyond recognition and finally killed on a Cross to pay the debt for our sins. This is the darkest day in history.

And yet, as tragic as this is, we know that Easter comes in two days. Thus, we grieve today with hope for tomorrow. Beth Moore puts it best when she says, “As sure as the earth will quake on Friday, a stone will roll on Sunday.” Because of this, we can join with Spafford, even in the bleakest of times, and say:

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.

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