Friday, May 23, 2008

It is Well With My Soul

It was reported yesterday that the youngest daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman was killed in an accident at their home. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. It is tempting to take Satan's approach to Job that it's easy to glorify God when everything is going well. But one's faith is truly tested when the inexplicable happens. Steven Curtis Chapman has certainly glorified God through his music, but also through his family and the adoption non-profit he founded. For tragedy to strike his family directly like this must be gut-wrenching as he is likely wrestling with the question of "why?"

To relate to this songwriter, I turn to another- Horatio Spafford. If the name isn't familiar, he's the writer of It is Well With My Soul, one of my favorite hymns. This is the story "behind the music" (courtesy of Wikipedia):
This hymn was writ­ten af­ter several trau­matic events in Spaf­ford’s 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 S.S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross­ing the At­lan­tic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with an­o­ther ship, 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...

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, 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!.

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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