For my friends and all those who may be in the midst of struggles and sorrows today – never forget that “when our lives are filled with cares, God’s comfort brings us joy.” Psalm 94:19 HCSB
As the waves crashed around her, sorrow poured over her soul. In only a few moments, Mrs. H. G. Spafford’s world was destroyed. The S.S. Ville du Havre on which she was sailing with her four children had been struck by another vessel. The Ville du Havre had completely sunk within two hours and Mrs. Spafford’s four children had not been saved.
Upon arriving in Wales, Mrs. Spafford sent a short message to her husband in Chicago, “Saved Alone.” The grieving Mr. Spafford replied, “I am so glad to trust the Lord when it will cost me something.”
Not long after the terrible disaster, Mr. Spafford sailed to Wales to meet his wife. As the ship passed over the watery grave in which his children lay, his anguish became unbearable. His pain and doubt turned to faith, though, as he penned the words to the famous hymn:
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.”
What an expression of faith! Tragedy challenged faith and faith was victorious.
History has produced many stories of those who have remained faithful through trials and tribulation, tragedy and pain, uncertainty and doubt. God’s faithful have been challenged, and through the corridors of time, there echoes the song, “It is well.” Abraham was sent to unknown lands far from his own family and home. In his heart he sang, “It is well.” Moses was commissioned to be the leader of an entire nation. Though doubting his own abilities, he said, “It is well.” Job was left with nothing but his own life. Through his pain he breathed, “It is well.” Men have been beaten. Women have lost children. Believers have been put to excruciating deaths, but the song has always rang out, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”
When trying times invade our lives and our faith is on the line, let us join the faithful chorus, lift our voices and sing, “It is well.”
Often, proclaiming “It is well” is difficult and believing it may be even harder but we do have assurance of God’s love and provisions for us. Just pick up His Word and take a quick peek. Evidence of God’s faithfulness to us leaps from every page. H. G. Spafford knew the promises of God’s Word and there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Spafford held tight to the hope he found in each assurance as he grieved for his children. Another look at this age-old hymn reveals his proclamation of faith and hope in a faithful God:
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.
And we have a hope not only in our current situations but also for the future. One day, we will live with our Lord forever. He will wipe away all of our tears and our sorrows will be no more. We can join Mr. Spafford in his invocation:
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.
Oh, it is, indeed, well with my soul!