Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It is well with my soul...

"When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrow like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul"

My all time favorite hymn was sung last night in the midst of many young people during a "hardcore" show. I'm not a hardcore music fan, AT ALL. I actually hate it to be honest with you. I knew that the band was Christian but I was NOT expecting them to bust out in this old hymn after their rendition of roaring screams and barking guitars. They were solemn and peaceful as they sang this song and it brought much comfort to my heart.

Everytime I hear this hymn, I cry. I just can't help it. It ushers an unreal peace into my spirit and it's almost as if I can feel my soul being held.

The concept of this old tune is amazing if you really think about it and comprehend the lyrics. Though current situations and circumstances attempt to rob me of my peace, contentment, and joy there is something much deeper than what I'm scratching the surface of and there is a place where I can find refuge and safety, where my mind and heart can be at ease.

The story behind this song is very inspiring and influential. Horatio Spafford wrote these words having undergone several traumatic events in his life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the Great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873 he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville e Havre but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While crossing the Atlantic the ship sank rapidly after a collision with another ship, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died. These words rang deep within his spirit and inspired one of today's most popular hymns.

The loss that this man suffered cannot even remotely compare to my current situations and yet, he penned these words as if contending with God that He was sufficient enough. That though he was aching as though he had never ached before, it was well with his soul.

I don't know what you're going through but I do know that we all face difficult situations and unfortunate circumstances along this journey and it can be overwhelming to say the least. I know for me, I tend to always shove things so far down inside as if pretending it's all okay, when in fact, it isn't. God is revealing to me the act of truly "laying it all down", whether I'm overwhelmed with sadness, anxiety, grief, anger, hurt, bitterness or whatever it may be that I am feeling. His grace is sufficient for me and his power is made perfect when I am so weak and despaired. Though my current situation doesn't bring me peace and contentment, He does. And despite my state of emotion, It is well with my soul.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” -Psalm 46:1-3

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” -John 14:27


aMbErDeNaE said...

Thank You! This is exactly what I needed to read today! I have been struggling the past few days, and I'm in an emotional slump that I havent been able to get out of! Love it!

xoxo a

Danya said...

I can totally relate! I love this song as well - I love the gut wrenching truth behind it! Reminds me of David and his heart cries to God. :)

mrs.leah.maria said...

I'm not one to regularly hear hymns, but everytime I hear one it is exactly what I need to be singing. What an inspirational post Amber. I think I'll be re-reading it tonight when I go home.

Jessica said...

I agree - this is one of the greatest hymns of all time. Thanks for reminding me of a profound truth today.

Mitzy said...

I LOVE all those Older songs!!.. They REALLY speak to me, when Im having a hard time!, Notthat todays praise and worship doesnt.. But there is just something about those older songs that have been around for hundreds of years ya know?.. LOVE THEM!!!!

Thanks for posting this.. I needed it!!

Vicki said...

Yes, the old hymns are so touching and they really do seem to reach out and speak to your heart. This is one that always touches me. I remember hearing this story behind the hymn and it was truly sad.
It does bring people comfort. I think that is what we all need right now!
Thank you for posting that song, it's a shot in the arm!
~ Vicki

Lindsey said...

I love this hymn and this post is just the inspiration I neded. Thank you!

Shanny said...

Que letras tan fuertes y bellas.

La historia de Horatio Spafford trajo lagrimas a mis ojos. Dios es tan grande que inspiro estas lindas letras durante un tiempo tan dificil. Nunca he escuchado este himno, gracias por escribir sobre esto.