♪ Music

♪ It Is Well

The ancient hymn “It Is Well With (With My Soul)” is well known and beloved, but many do not know the history that inspired it’s writing.  Having heard this story years before, it was an immediate choice for Grace’s funeral.  I don’t know how my brother told the story and sang the song without getting emotional.

Horatio Spafford
Here’s the story:
(copied from Portraits of Grace and verified by several sources)
Horatio Spafford was a lawyer of some prominence in Chicago. He and his wife Anna had one son and four daughters, and were good friends of D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey for many years. Mr. Spafford’s children had come to Christ through the influence of Ira Sankey’s music and efforts with the children of Chicago. Shortly before the Great Chicago Fire of October 8th, 1871, the Spafford’s son died and the family went into deep mourning. After the fire ravaged the city, Mr. Spafford found himself financially ruined. He had invested heavily in downtown Chicago real estate, which was now gone. He and his wife turned to the people of the city, helping to minister to those who were homeless and in desperate need.

After two years of ministering to the people of Chicago, Mr. Spafford thought his family needed a vacation. D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey were in England holding evangelical meetings and bringing countless thousands to Christ. Mr. Spafford decided to take his family to England, where they could vacation and also be a help to his friends Moody and Sankey.

Mr. Spafford booked passage for his family on the ship SS Ville de Havre, but at the last minute was unable to go with his family due to business. He promised to follow them within a few weeks and they would all be reunited in England.

As the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, it collided with the English ship Lochearn, and iron sailing vessel. On November 22, 1873, the SS Ville de Havre sank within 12 minutes. 226 lives were lost, including the four Spafford daughters. Mrs. Spafford was rescued from a floating piece of debris. When she arrived in Wales 10 days later she cabled a message to her husband, “Saved Alone…”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next ship heading to England. As the ship crossed the area where the SS Ville de Havre sank, taking his precious daughters to the ocean’s depths, Mr. Spafford felt the Holy Spirit fill him with a comforting peace. Leaving the ship’s railing he went into his cabin where he penned the Hymn that has soothed so many souls who have been brokenhearted.


It is my prayer that you may find the strength, peace and grace of God to be able to say that although you grieve the loss of your child, it is well with your soul.

From the Soundtrack for the Motion Picture "Amazing Grace"

“It is Well” as recorded by Jeremy & Adie Camp

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.

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

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.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with 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!

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

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.

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

By Horatio Spafford (1828 – 1888)


1 thought on “♪ It Is Well”

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