In 1873, Horatio Spafford’s wife and four daughters were on a boat trip travelling from the United States to Europe. The ship they were on collided with another ship and went down. His wife survived but all four of his daughters died in the wreckage. Spafford left soon afterward on a different boat taking the same long journey across the ocean to reunite with his wife. As he traversed the same route that his family had taken previously, I am sure thoughts of his daughters weighed heavy upon his heart and mind. This is the song he wrote on that trip. As you read through these verses, try to picture yourself in his place. Better yet, as you read through these verses, think through a hardship or tragedy that you have been through in your life. Let these words of Horatio speak to your heart and reveal the love and compassion of our Savior.
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
Contentment >> During times of peace and prosperity that often feel like a gentle flowing river carrying us along or when sorrows overwhelm us that seem to be as a storm raging inside and outside of us. We can be content deep within our soul for Christ is our Lord. There is a sense in which the Lord will bring peace into your life during these moments, but in this verse we are understanding that the Lord is teaching us. He is teaching us about contentment and being satisfied with our Savior regardless of our life circumstances. These are the lessons that we all need to learn and have to learn. It is through these peaceful times that we can more readily see the loving hand of protection that our Father provides and these blessed times should inform our more sorrowful moments. It is in these moments of sorrow, when the sea billows are rolling, that we can look back at the steadfast love of the Lord and trust in him. We can look back over previous sorrows and remember the faithfulness of the Lord. In all of these things, we learn to trust in the ever-present love of our good Father. We can be at peace and content in any situation, because we have seen and experienced his tender mercies in the noonday sun and the darkest night of a storm.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
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!
Forgiveness >> It’s a beautiful truth that all of our sin was laid upon Christ on the cross and he took the full wrath of God. The perfect Son of God looked upon our helplessness and took all our sin upon himself and paid the perfect price, so we can have true forgiveness before God as we trust in his sacrifice alone for salvation. Satan will still rage against us, and all sorts of trials and temptations will still come. There will no shortage of heartache and suffering and striving as we continue this journey of life. Yet, Christ has regarded our helpless estate. He has looked upon our depravity, our sinfulness, our helplessness and been moved to compassion. And glory upon glory is that Jesus took ALL of our sin and nailed it to the cross. Christ has done what we cannot and would not. He has taken every sin of ours and paid the full penalty for us. We no longer have to bear that sin and burden. The wrath of God was completely satisfied in the sacrifice of Christ!
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!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord haste the day when the 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.
Hope >> There will come a day when everything around us will end. When Jesus came for the first time 2,000 years ago, he came meek and mild as a baby in a manager. When he returns, he will come as a conquering King bringing all of his children to him. In that day we will see him as he truly is… Glorious and Awesome in Majesty and Power. Our goal is not the grave. Oh, our goal is far removed from the grave. Our goal is heaven and Jesus himself. He is our Redeemer. He is our Savior. He is the one we are waiting patiently for. And when he returns our faith will be sight. What we hope for now by faith, we will one day see. Our faith will turn from a notion in our heart and mind into a glorious picture of our triumphant risen Savior King returning to claim his people out of this world.
It is well, it is well with my soul
Throughout our days, let us sing “It is Well with My Soul” each and every moment. Remind yourself of the goodness and faithfulness of Christ. Rest content in the steadfastness of Jesus. Be thankful as you remember the forgiveness of Christ in your life. Rejoice in the hope of our returning King to bring us all home.