Is it Well?


Is it Well (image)

Is It Well?

Many of you have sung the beloved Horatio Spafford hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” Is there a more moving verse in Christianity than this?

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.

But how was it right with Horatio’s soul? Two years earlier, he was a wealthy businessman with a wife and four daughters. Then his wealth went up in flames during the Chicago Fire of 1871. Not long after, Horatio put his family on a ship to England and stayed behind to finish some business. In the incredibly vast expanse of the ocean, the ship carrying his family somehow collided with a Scottish freighter and all four daughters perished. His wife Anna survived and sent the telegram that must have arrived with the force of a sledgehammer: SAVED ALONE.

Spafford sailed off to join her and the captain mentioned that they were approaching the area in which the accident occurred. The story goes that Horatio was filled with a sense of peace from the Holy Spirit and hurried off to pen the words, which find their roots in 2 Kings 4:26. Almost unbelievably, the gentlemen who later put the words to music—Philip Paul Bliss—died with his wife in a train accident in 1876 when a bridge collapsed.

It is well with my soul. How can it be well when tragedy and ruin prowl around us “like a hungry lion?” What solace is there to offer the families who lost loved ones in the recent attack at Ft. Hood? How many missionaries have been slaughtered while doing Christ’s work?

Yet peace triumphs again and again and again. The Holy Spirit speaks to a grieving father whose words bring comfort for generations. The Shunammite woman who did not want to get her hopes up has a child and then he dies. But somehow she’s ok and keeps her faith until Elisha unleashes the miracle.

Here are some stories from my last week in ministry that tell me that somehow—despite the best efforts of our enemy—it is well:

  • A family that has endured mind-numbing recent tragedy sacrifices to help send a young heifer to starving children in Africa
  • A senior high youth gives up a playoff game in order to attend a missions trip
  • Someone from a congregation that has just hired a new pastor reminds him to not neglect his own family in his zeal to serve them
  • Shoebox after shoebox containing Operation Christmas Child items start materializing like something out of an old “Star Trek” episode
  • God smiles on a junior high worship service which ends in a group hug

I could go on and on. Do you see? The work of our risen Savior will not be derailed, no matter how many families are torn apart. The Holy Spirit will keep whispering to people no matter how many ships sink or how many young people suffer injuries and death. The brokenhearted will be bound up just as Isaiah told us they would.

Why? Because for those us of who believe, we’re a part of a story that has a happy ending. The weather forecast certainly looks far too bleak to plan our heavenly picnic sometimes, doesn’t it? But one day the clouds will be rolled back as a scroll and the pain and loss that we’ve experienced will evaporate like mist. On that day it will be well with our souls…but not only on that day. There are days to come in which the miraculous peace like the peace given to Horatio Spafford that day will descend upon you—if you have prepared for it, that is.

If there is sin in your life that is preventing this peace from inhabiting your soul, take Mr. Spafford’s advice and “nail it to the cross.” There’s room for one more. There’s always room for one more.


It Is Well With My Soul

Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss

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.

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 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!

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.

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.

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There are 5 comments

Great stuff!
This is a keeper.
Take care,


Dave Weiss
November 13, 2009 - 03:36

Excellent devotional. It's great to be reminded to look up and look forward when difficult events unfold in one's life. I loved your list, too! It is well, indeed.

Deb Bendit
November 12, 2009 - 16:50

Wow. They keep getting better! Good job, Kent! I've always been impressed by the Spafford story, and you did a great job of tying it into your devotional and into current events. I really, really enjoyed reading the examples from your ministry week. Fantastic!

Lord, haste the day!

November 12, 2009 - 12:08
Reply to Shawn


Thank you and to God be the glory! My list was an abbreviated one, you can be sure. I am DAILY amazed by the generosity and caring of the folks at HCOB, especially amidst difficult circumstances sometimes. They inspire me to serve Christ with even greater energy

Pastor Kent
November 12, 2009 - 13:36


Mike Denlinger
November 12, 2009 - 11:25
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