By Rev. Mike Gudka
My articles for this month are going to be a little different than what I have done in the past. For these articles I am going to look at the history behind some of the great old hymns that many have come to know and love. Many of these hymns have an interesting past; they come from many different people and church denominations, and help tell a powerful story of what we believe. They can comfort us, bring back strong memories, and help us draw closer to Christ.
So this week, I am going to look at “It is Well with my Soul.” In 1873, a Chicago Lawyer Horatio G. Spafford sent his wife and four daughters on a ship headed out on a European vacation. He was going to follow them on another ship at a later time. The name of the ship that his wife and four daughters traveled on was the SS Ville du Havre. But tragically, while at sea this ship was struck by another ship and sank. All four of his daughters where lost, but his wife survived the tragedy. From England, she sent Horatio a very simple cable, “Saved alone.”
Horatio then sailed to see his wife in England and when his shipped reached the place where his wife’s ship had sunk, the Captain notified Horatio. Within the sea of emotions that Horatio must have experienced, he sat down and wrote “It is Well with My Soul.” So the next time you sing these words, “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, though hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul” remember the sorrow that Horatio must have been feeling when he wrote those words, and yet he rested on God’s promise and allowed God to get him through this very difficult time in his life.