I grew up a preacher's daughter & very familiar with the old hymns that were embedded so deeply in my heart & head. Of course, Amazing Grace is probably the most recognizable hymn to everyone, even if they didn't learn it in church. Well, one hymn written tugged my heart since July 2005, and it was written by Horatio Spafford in 1873, "It Is Well With My Soul."
I longed for my heart to say it is well with my soul... I wept for it to be well with my soul... but it wasn't. Not at all.
I wanted to know more about this hymn so I started to research the lyrics, they intrigued me so much. I wanted to know why Horatio Spafford wrote these words and why it was well with his soul and it wasn't with mine!
SO... I began reading, in 1870, his only son at the age of 4 died from scarlet fever, shortly after that, in 1871, he lost his real estate that he was heavily invested in The Great Chicago Fire. Well, so far I couldn't understand it... so I kept reading...
In 1873, he decided that his wife and him, along with their 4 daughters would take a much needed holiday to England for some rest. (okay, so I am thinking here was the vacation that would make it well with his soul, right?) At the last minute, a business matter would arise and Horatio did not want to ruin the holiday so he would have to have his wife and daughters set sail without him, and he would travel to meet them at their destination.
Nine days later, he received a telegram from his wife with 2 words written on it, "saved alone." The vessel that was carrying his most precious cargo, his 4 daughters and his wife, all that he had left, had sunk, his wife survived. Horatio rushed to be by his wife's side and when the captain was passing the waters where his 4 daughters had passed, the captain let Horatio know this was 'the place.' Horatio, then penned the most beautiful and heartbreaking lyrics to It Is Well With My Soul... Gasp, that is what I did, Gasped! and then cried and cried and cried some more!
These words were not written when life was good, when life was easy, when all was well...!!! These lyrics were written when everything was gone! I cried to God saying I only lost one son, and here is this man that has lost all 5 of his children and he is writing and singing you this song! How can it be?
Years later, I would have gone through much heartache and pain and my prayers always led me to God I want it to be well with my soul... please let it be well with my soul. And I would think of this great songwriter, this father, this man that lost everything but in those tender moments in the very same place that claimed his 4 daughters life, it was well with his soul!!!
God would began slowly taking me to places of pain, places of 'remembrance,' places that seemed too painful to ever go back... but on that journey God was preparing my heart, my soul. It is amazing the healing that can come when facing the place you fear the most, the 'place' you were when your baby slipped away, when you got 'the call,' when life forever changed...
I want you to read the words Horatio wrote as his boat drifted across the very waters where his 4 daughters lost their lives... I am re-reading them as I am typing this and it still blows my mind to imagine what he was feeling... how he must have felt looking over the waters... oh how his heart must have hurt. And still, he penned the following words...
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul!"
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 His Cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O 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!"
Writing Facets of Life, and experiencing so much of the rawness reliving moment by moment and of grief during that process, and coming to a place of complete and utter desperation, God answered my prayers... and I will never forget the moment I could say GOD, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL! Tears streamed down my face in gratefulness! A man from the 1800's and his love for God and his heart that must have been so full of immense pain, produced within him with God's strength to stand and give to us this beautiful hymn. God was doing that with me, all the while writing Facets of Life... and I wanted to do that for others!
That, my friends, is the passion through pain that God gives to us when we are hurt so deeply, that passion within us, when coupled with the strength God supplies us with will change lives and touch hearts for the rest of eternity! Over a century ago, a man that God carefully hand picked, just as he did Job, (and you and you and you!) allowed his pain to overflow into his passion to reach the lives of so many hurting people out there!
My heart still hurts deeply for my baby boy, and there are still moments and sometimes days of ugh.... and ups and downs and round and rounds... but it is well with my soul. God has given me that peace.
All the while, when I was a little girl on the front pew of the church, I would sing this song... I surely never knew I would live it one day.
My sweet friends, I pray it is well with your soul today... and that through Horatio Spafford and the devastation of his losses in his life, that you will be as inspired as I was at what God produced through his pain and that whatever journey you are on today it can be well with your soul...
My love to all,