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It is Well With My Soul

And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life. And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. 2 Kings 4:17-27

As the scripture above is read, it is a wonder to meditate on the response of the Shunammite woman to the sudden death of her only child. Though we read that her soul was vexed within her, she still maintained, "It is well."  How is this possible? How could it be well with her soul?  Is it well with our soul when bad things happen or tragedy strikes?

There is an old hymn, " It is Well With My Soul", that is familiar to many.  How and why the hymn was written is not so well known.  A Chicago lawyer named Horatio G. Spafford wrote this well-known hymn. You might think, by the title, that the song might have been written during a period of great security and happiness in this man's life. To the contrary, the song lyrics sprang from the heart of a man who had just suffered almost unimaginable personal tragedy.

Horatio and his wife, Anna, together were almost household words in 1860's Chicago.  Not only because of Horatio's legal career and business endeavors, but also the Spaffords were also prominent supporters and close friends of D.L. Moody, the famous evangelist. In 1870, however, things started to go wrong. Horatio had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1871, the great and infamous Chicago Fire wiped out every one of these holdings.

Being well aware of the toll that these disasters had taken on his family, Horatio decided to take his wife and four daughters on a vacation to England.  Not only did they need the rest, but also their friend, D. L. Moody, needed the help in his crusade efforts. Horatio and Anna planned to join Moody in late 1873.  And so, the family traveled to New York in November, from where they were to catch the French steamer 'Ville de Havre' across the Atlantic.  Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to delay, and then decide to return home. Not wanting to ruin the family holiday, Horatio persuaded his family to go ahead as planned without him. He would follow on later.  With this decided, Anna and her four daughters sailed east to Europe while Horatio returned west to Chicago.

After a short time at sea, on November 2nd 1873, the 'Ville de Havre', collided with 'The Lochearn', an English vessel.  The 'Ville de Havre' was damaged severely and sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of two hundred and twenty six people.

While the ship was sinking, Anna stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging desperately to her.  Her last memory, before loosing consciousness was that of seeing her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters.  Anna was only saved from death herself by a plank, which floated beneath her unconscious body and somehow propped her up, keeping her from a certain drowning. When the survivors of the wreck had been rescued, Anna's first reaction was one of complete despair.  Then she heard a voice speak to her, "You were spared for a purpose."   And she immediately recalled the words of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to GOD."

Just nine days after seeing his family off to England, Horatio received a telegram from Anna. It read: "Saved alone."

Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife.  During that voyage, the captain of the ship called Horatio to the bridge. "A careful reckoning has been made", he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the 'Ville de Havre' was wrecked.  The water is three miles deep."  Horatio Spafford went back to his cabin.  Certainly his heart was torn by grief.  Before that dark night and terrible night had ended, near the place where his children had perished, he worshiped and wrote these most unforgettable words:

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.

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.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with 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!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of 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.

The words that Horatio Spafford wrote that day come from the scripture above in 2 Kings. The lyrics of the song reveal a man whose trust in the Lord was as unwavering as was the Shunammite woman of scripture.  Horatio Spafford in his agony wrote a song of six stanzas, each of which recounts truths written in scripture.  Meditate on the scriptures below and match them up to each stanza above.  Is it well with your soul?

Stanza #1:

Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God. Jeremiah 42:6

Stanza #2

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28

Stanza #3

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Colossians 2:13-14

Stanza #4

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Stanza #5

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

Stanza #6

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

Our worship does not solely depend on our circumstances and how we feel.

"Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say .it is well, it is well with my soul".

Our worship does not center on our problems and ourselves but instead focuses on what GOD has already done.

"The bliss of this glorious thought .my sin ... is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.

Our worship is based what GOD will do in the future.

"Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight. he trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend".

It can be well with your soul.  It was well for a Shunammite woman centuries ago, it was well for some ordinary people from Chicago a hundred and twenty five years ago, and it can be well with your soul today and forevermore.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul
Be blessed and meditate or meditate and be blessed!!!!.. the choice is yours!!
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