This song really spoke to me today, particularly the italicized parts. The man who wrote it — Horatio G. Spafford — was a lawyer and lost a great deal of real estate in the Chicago fires in 1871. His son died around the same time. After two years of helping the homeless of the fires, Spafford decided to vacation to England with his family, but sent his wife and four daughters ahead because he was delayed with business. The ship collided with another, sinking within twenty minutes, taking all four of his daughters — his wife was one of only 47 survivors. She sent a telegram to Spafford: “Saved alone.” When the pair met with their friend months later, Spafford told him, “It is well. The will of God be done.” It is said he penned these words during the years of grieving afterward.
Today, it speaks to me because my sins are in front of me, and I am comforted to know that Christ, though I can’t understand it, has taken the whole of them.
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.”
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.
My sin, o, 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!
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!