“It Is Well with My Soul” is the title of a popular Christian hymn written by Horatio G. Spafford in the 19th century. The story behind the hymn is a touching and inspiring one.
Horatio Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago in the late 1800s. He and his wife, Anna, were devout Christians and were involved in various church activities. They had four daughters and a son.
In 1871, tragedy struck the Spafford family when the Great Chicago Fire destroyed much of their property and investments. Despite their financial losses, the family remained resilient and committed to their faith.
In 1873, the Spaffords decided to take a trip to Europe in order to assist their friend, evangelist Dwight L. Moody, in his ministry efforts. Horatio was delayed by business matters, so he sent his wife and daughters ahead on the ocean liner SS Ville du Havre.
Tragically, the ship collided with another vessel and sank in the Atlantic Ocean. Anna Spafford survived the shipwreck, but their four daughters perished. As soon as he received news of the tragedy, Horatio Spafford sailed to meet his grieving wife.
It was during his journey across the Atlantic, as he passed near the spot where his daughters had perished, that Horatio Spafford was inspired to write the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.” The exact circumstances and emotions that led him to write these powerful words are not fully documented, but the hymn reflects a deep sense of peace, surrender, and trust in God’s plan despite the immense suffering and loss he had experienced.
The hymn’s lyrics express a profound faith in God’s sovereignty and love even in the face of life’s trials and hardships. The first verse goes:
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.”
The hymn has since become a source of comfort and inspiration to countless individuals facing their own challenges and losses. It serves as a reminder that even in the darkest moments, faith and hope can bring a sense of peace and well-being.