Dash of Sass: It Is Well With My Soul
The story behind the old hymnal “It Is Well With My Soul” is as popular as the hymn itself. You’ve probably heard it at some point in your life. Horatio Spafford was a wealthy Chicago lawyer in the 1800’s with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian.
At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.
With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, “When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul…”
Despite his unimaginable tragedy, despite his despair, despite his heartbreak and sadness and likely crisis of faith after suffering so much strife, Horatio Spafford found a way to make peace with what he had been through and even transform his grief into one of the most beautiful and poignant hymnals of all time. And though most of us will (thankfully) never suffer as much turmoil in our lives as Mr. Spafford did in his life, I’d like to think that in the midst of even our greatest pain, we can all find our way back to a place of peace, and calm, and stillness.
So today, I ask you: What will it take to get you to the place where you can say “It is well with my soul”? Do you need to forgive someone? Forgive yourself? Let someone go? Put a painful experience behind you, once and for all? Find the closure that someone denied you? Do it! God never promised us that we wouldn’t face storms, but He DID promise to be our calm in the storm…and today is a good day to lay claim to that promise. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes or selfishness or bad behavior define you or hold you captive for one more day. People can hurt you, they can deny you, they can steal from you, they can talk about you, they can shake you and berate you and try to break you…but they CANNOT take your peace, unless you hand it to them. They can create chaos in your life but they can’t force you to join in. Why? Because the storms of life can’t stop you when the umbrella of faith tops you. Proclaim today as the last day that you will ever again let anyone or anything steal your peace. Declare yourself free of the chains of past hurt and heartbreak and pain. After all, the boat of life will rock…the storms will come…the rain will fall…but when everything else has washed away, and only peace remains, remind yourself that “I’m still standing. I’m still here. And it is well with my soul.”