June 11, 2023

The Shepherd's Corner

One of the greatest hymns ever written is “It is Well with My Soul.”  It is great not only for the message it conveys but also for the people who wrote the lyrics and composed the tune.  It was H.G. Spafford who wrote the lyrics.  He lost a fortune when the great Chicago fire consumed the city in 1871.  Not long after he lost his four-year-old son to scarlet fever.  In 1873, wanting to attend D. L. Moddy’s evangelistic meetings in England, he decided to take his wife and their four daughters to England.  But due to an urgent matter, he could not go with them, so he sent his wife and four daughters to sail across the Atlantic. The ship never arrived there.

It collided with an iron sailing vessel; there were 226 fatalities, including Spafford’s four daughters.  Only the mother survived.  It was during his trip to meet her, right where he passed over the place where the other ship went down, that he wrote, “It is well; the will of God be done.” The hymn came out of these words.

The tune of the song was composed by Philip Bliss.  Not long after he wrote the tune for this song, he and his wife, Lucy, were asked to sing at Moody’s Tabernacle, in Chicago.  So, they boarded the train and left.  While passing a chasm in Ohio, the bridge collapsed, and the train plunged into the ravine.  Philip survived and managed to crawl out but the moment he learned that Lucy was still inside, he crawled back in.  By then the train was already engulfed in fire.  When the other passengers tried to stop him, he shouted, “If I cannot save her, I will perish with her.”  Both died in the fire.

Two men, divinely appointed to corroborate on this hymn, suffered unimaginable loss and pain. They became living witnesses to the truth proclaimed by this hymn, “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.’ “

Pastor Paul

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