Do you know the story behind the classic hymn, “It is Well with My Soul?” It paints a picture of remarkable faith and peace in the midst of sorrow.
In 1873 Horatio Spafford received the message from his wife, “Saved alone,” after the ship she and their 4 daughters were on sank on the way to Europe. It was the latest in a string of tragedies for the family. They had also lost their entire fortune to the Chicago Fire in 1871 and their young son shortly before that. It's more than I can imagine bearing, and yet, as he crossed the Atlantic to join his wife, Spafford managed to write these lyrics:
When peace, like a river,
attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to know,
“It is well, it is well with my soul”
We’re working through the book of Acts at my church, but when I’m at home I keep finding myself in Philippians lately. It seems particularly fitting now as I think about the school shooting that took place in Florida a few days ago.
I’m not looking to debate gun laws and school security. I just need to pray. I pray that in the midst of people’s disbelief, anger, fear and sorrow that there is also hope. In times like these it may seem like a lonely journey across an endless, stormy sea, but I pray that in time we can all sing, “It is well with my soul.”