Being the daughter of a church pianist, I’ve always had a love for old hymns. Anytime I get to sing one at church or deliberately put one on to listen, I am taken back to my childhood and hearing my mom play the piano. My little girl, Anna, is pictured above with her Annie a few years ago at the same piano from my growing up years. The gospel message of hope is so wonderfully woven into the lyrics of classic hymns and it’s something that can outlast all of the Christian music trends throughout the ages.
It Is Well With My Soul is one of these such hymns that always touches my heart. Horatio Spafford’s opening lyrics so beautifully composed with music by Philip Bliss will forever be a comfort to me throughout life’s trials:
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.
What is truly incredible about these lyrics is that they were written after Spafford’s personal life tragedies of losing his son, having financial difficulties, and eventually losing his three daughters who all died as their ship sank. I would certainly struggle to be as brave as him to write “It is well,” after such horrible loss. Yet, Spafford held steadfast to Jesus and only through trusting God more than all of his heartache could such words be expressed.
A recent Bethel music worship song which takes inspiration from this classic hymn has been on repeat in my heart and mind lately. It Is Well With My Soul sung by Kristene DiMarco resonates that choice we humans have. Will we trust God despite our circumstances and acknowledge His greater plans? As DiMarco sings,
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on you
And it is well with me
Christian or not, we all weather through life’s storms and yet one thing is constant: Jesus is the Rock and He is with us through good and bad. We all go through challenges and often those things are not visible at surface level. They are buried deep in our hearts and often we cannot express what on earth we are going through, other than an acknowledgement that whatever we are going through is tough. It’s a reminder to me to be gentle and kind with the people I encounter. Emotional, mental, and spiritual battles are being fought every day by each one of us.
Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
How comforting to know that even when I cannot find words to pray, the Spirit is advocating for me and lifting up my prayers to God through Jesus. As I strive to trust God more than my circumstances, His peace which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7) comes to fill my heart and the Holy Spirit helps me to declare, “It is well.”