Spiritual Non-Fiction posted April 7, 2015

This work has reached the exceptional level
The story behind the song, It is well with my soul.

saved alone

by flylikeaneagle


"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with thee and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee.
When thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned,
neither shall the flame kindle thee."
Isaiah 43:2


It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul...


Horatio Spafford, a forty-three year-old Chicago lawyer and business man,
wrote his famous song, "It is well with my soul." He grieved the loss of his four
young daughters who died on a sea voyage. The captain pointed out the area
where the other ships went down. Horatio penned this song in his ship cabin.


The family moved from New York to settle in Chicago. Horatio made it big with financial deals.
He bought properties in the heart of Chicago by the Lake Michigan. Land was cheap and Horatio had plenty of money. With his wisdom, Horatio, wheeled and dealt with property and made his family wealthy. But, did money bring happiness or family time together?

Horatio was an elder at the Presbyterian Church, served the people and helped where ever needed. Mr. and Mrs. Spafford were respected in Chicago and had five children, four daughters and one baby boy. They treasured their five children and trusted God for their lives.

Then, like the Bible hero, Job, Mr. Spafford, lost his first son to illness. The Great Chicago Fire in 1871, spread out over the wooden buildings of downtown Chicago. An evangelist spoke on a Sunday to the masses of people. He shared the Good News, but failed to offer an alter call. He thought that next Sunday, he would have the crowds accept and believe that Jesus is their Savior and Lord. But, next Sunday never came. The Chicago fire, caused by a cow who kicked over a lantern, spread and destroyed the city.

The Horatios and other church goers helped the hurt, homeless and hungry. They welcomed the poor find homes and food. They believed in the word of the Lord with the scripture Isaiah 58, This is the fast that the Lord desired to reach out to the lost, hungry and homeless.

Dwight Moody had an outdoor tent revival in England and invited the Spafford family In 1873. They gladly accepted, for they needed a vacation. The famous ocean liner, the Ville du Havre, was booked for the family trip. The woman boarded. Horatio stayed behind to attend to a business deal. He had lost most of his wealth in the Great Chicago Fire.

The days were clear and sunny as the women started their voyage. The winds picked up and the dark, misty fog rolled in. The waves stirred up and the captains didn't see the other ship. The Loch Earn collided with the Ville du Havre, ocean liner. The ships sank within 12 minutes with countless lives lost at sea. The four daughters died in the cold sea. Mrs. Spafford, held onto a piece of the ship wreckage. She was rescued. Unaware of the crash, Horatio was in Chicago. He received a telegraph, from his wife in England, with the words, "Saved alone."

Horatio booked the next ship to meet his wife. As the ship reached the area of the crash, the captain stopped. Horatio prayed and felt peace of the Lord. Through his tears and his pen, Horatio penned the words to this song in the ship cabin. Bubbles of Living Water and the presence of Jesus stirred up the famous words of this song.


It Is Well with My Soul

Horatio G. Spafford, 1873

Scripture: 2 Kings 4:26; Psalm 146:1

Ville du Havre
Philip P. Bliss, 1876
Copyright: Public Domain
Key: D

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, 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 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 the 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.

Faith Publishing House, Echoes from Heaven, 1976


Horatio reunited with his wife and the Moody group in England. The couple returned to Chicago.The great city rebuilt and used concrete, marble and metal. The Spaffords had three more children. Horatio, born in 1876, died a few years later of scarlet fever. The elders of the Presbyterian thought that the couple were possessed or divinely punished and kicked them out of the Chicago church. With their two daughters, Bertha and Grace, the couple moved to Jerusalem.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says The Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 "The Joy of the Lord is our strength" and "love is our banner." Nehemiah 8:10 and Song of Solomon.


The Spaffords were not defeated with their faith. They believed in the scripture promises and persued a new home. In Jerusalem, the couple with their daughters were welcomed with open arms. They set up a children's home, hospital and soup kitchen for the poor. Their mission of love as overcomers attracted many people of all faiths in Israel.


Phillip Bliss wrote the tune, Ville du Havre, to the lyrics penned by Horatio Spafford. He performed and sang the song to the Moody Ministry. In 1876, Phillip Bliss and his wife traveled by train in Chicago. The bridge collapsed and fell into the icy waters below. The couple burned in the train cabins. Nine precious lives were taken with the Spafford and Bliss families. When we sing, "It is well with my soul," please remember those that died.


"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

This song is my husband's favorite song. It is popular and sung in the churches.
I pray that it is well with you! God bless! <>< soli deo Gloria!

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul!

The Story Behind The Song contest entry



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