Story Behind It Is Well With My Soul Hymn


Story Behind The Hymn, It Is Well With My Soul

Attorney Horatio Spafford and his wife, Anna, had a wonderful family of four daughters. Tragically, the great Chicago fire destroyed most of his business in 1871. Then, two years later, his wife and daughters were aboard the ocean liner Ville du Havre when it was struck by another vessel. All four daughters drowned.

His wife survived and nine days later was able to contact her husband by telegraph with this question: “Saved alone—what shall I do?”

See Also: In Christ Alone Hymn Lyrics

Spafford took the next available ship to join his wife. During the passage, the captain of the ship notified Spafford they were crossing the place where the Ville du Havre had sunk. After those moments of reflection and over the course of the rest of the journey, Spafford penned the words of this beloved hymn.

May God teach us that “whatever our lot” we can still say, “It is well.”

In all three of these stories, a circumstance of life confronts the child of God. And, in all three, God’s grace enables his child to trust the heart of the Father.

Life will confront us too. The songs we sing in the darkest of midnight will be the very songs that show the world the unwavering faithfulness of our Father who loves us so much.

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The darker it gets, the more we should sing.

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It Is Well With My Soul Hymn Lyrics

  1. 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.
    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.


  1. The “appropriate” time is probably when things look darkest and the soul takes its opportunity to express total trust in God

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