is is well with my soul….or is it?

Have you ever heard the worship song “It Is Well With My Soul”? I’m sure you have, even if you didn’t grow up in church. These are the lyrics:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has 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 has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

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

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

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul
Now, it’s really really easy to sing these lyrics. The music and melody of this song are very pretty. But if you listen to the lyrics, it doesn’t really sound like a happy time. If you’ve never heard it before, this is the story behind the man who wrote this hymn. And for me, it always makes this song a little harder to sing.

“Horatio Spafford was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures.

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. Spafford 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 “

 A few weeks ago, i went to Adore, a worship session they do once a month at Riverside Church. A handful of my friends were musicians, so i was glad i was finally able to check it out! It was a great night. When they played this song (and this happens every time) i became totally overwhelmed by the lyrics, and thinking about the meaning behind them. I mean, This man slowly lost everything over the course of a year. EVERYTHING. His possessions, his company, ALL of his children. And he wrote a song saying it was ok – that he still had God and because of that, everything would be ok. Tooootally a Job situation.
And i am totally not there. Not even one little bit.
I wish i was. I wish i could truly say it is well with my soul. Unfortunately, i haven’t been able to fully surrender the things in this world. I think about how crazy blessed i am… that my biggest problem right now is waiting until November 1st to move into my new place. Until then, i’m displaced. Living with my parents. Which i might add, is rent free, my own room with plenty of space, an extremely comfy bed, fully stocked kitchen of free food, air conditioning and satellite TV. Wait a second…. was i actually complaining about this? is *this* an actual problem?
There are people all over the world who haven’t eaten today. Some people lost everything they’ve ever had. Some people never had anything to start with, and lost a loved one. That is true loss, need and lacking.
I have none of those things in my life.
I’m not really one to “blame” God, but i do question him. I also don’t think i have a hard life. I know i don’t have a hard life. Anyone who is reading this blog, most likely doesnt have a hard life. But this guy really impressed me. He skipped the blame game. He skipped acting like he was entitled to a perfect life. and he said “Ok God… this is ok. I have you”.
I was so overwhelmed thinking about what this man might have felt…. to actually say “Lord, i have nothing left. But that’s ok, because i have you” – and truly mean every word. enough to write a song about it… that we still sing to this day.
I was talking to a friend of mine not too long ago and he said that this world has nothing for him. Nothing on this earth would make him want to stay here a minute longer. He’d go to heaven right now if it was an option. And based on his life and his actions, i truly believe him.
That is the attitude i want. I want to rely on God and nothing else. I want to be fully content in that, rather than always wanting something more.
I know this is a total ramble. but it’s been something i’ve been thinking about a LOT lately. There are all sorts of worship songs with lyrics like “this world has nothing for me” and “nothing i desire compares with you”… but i dont feel it in my life. I’m just being very honest. What about you? Do you feel like this, maybe it’s just me? Do you feel like in the face of loss and pain, you would say “it is well”? I am praying for this for myself, and hopefully soon i’ll come to the realization that the things of this world will pass away, and none of it will matter anymore….. but He will still remain. It’s like Paul says… what i want to do i do not do, and what i do not want to do… i do. And i’m hoping that soon, my first instict will not be to rely on the things of this world…. but i’m working on it.

One comment on “is is well with my soul….or is it?

Comments are closed.