Hymn: It Is Well With My Soul

Hymn: It Is Well with My Soul  
Hymn Writer: Horacio Spafford, 1873 

This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first two were the death of his four-year-old son and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire).   

His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to England with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, to help with D. L. Moody’s upcoming evangelistic campaigns. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, 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.  Phillip Bliss (who composed the music) called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.  

It Is Well With My Soul 
Words: Horacio Spafford, 1873 
Music: Ville du Havre, Philip P. Bliss, 1875 

Verse 1 
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. 

Verse 2 
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. 

Refrain 
It is well, with my soul, 
It is well, it is well, with my soul.  

Verse 3 
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! 

Verse 4 
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:  
If Jordan above me shall roll,  
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life  
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.  

Verse 5 
But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, 
The sky, not the grave, is our goal; 
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!  
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul! 

Verse 6 
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.