It Is Well With My Soul

23 July 2010
"It Is Well With My Soul" is a well known hymn written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.
Spafford wrote the hymn after several traumatic events occurred in his life.
The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, 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.
Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.
 
Ville du Havre means the Village of Havre. Le Havre was originally named Franciscopolis after King Francis I, who founded the city in 1517. A chapel known as Notre-Dame-de-Grâce ("Our Lady of Grace") existed at the site before the city was established, and the denomination lent its name to the port, to be called Le Havre (or Le Hable) de Grâce ("the harbor of grace"). The shortened name Le Havre, as used in modern times, simply translates as "the port" or "the harbor".  We see in Spafford's life a great measure of grace that sustained him through his losses.

 

It Is Well With My Soul from SongsAndHymns.org
 
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Refrain: 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.
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!
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.
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 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.
- Horatio Spafford
 
Although the original manuscript reads "know" at the end of the third line, almost all recordings and written reproductions read "say".
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
 
May you, our readers, find peace in your soul.
 
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Yom Sh'lishi, 10 Tevet, 5779

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