Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I think I learned every hymn forward, backward, and upside down (except for the third verses, of course, which are inexplicably always skipped!). As I grew older, my taste in music transformed and I left the old hymns in the past. Now and again, someone releases a modern remake of an old hymn, and it provides a sweet sense of nostalgia. Updated music has helped me rediscover a few old songs. There is one, however, that over the past couple of years has resonated with me in its original form.
I love the haunting and solemn melody of “It Is Well with My Soul”. I have an entire playlist of different instrumental versions of the hymn that I often play during my morning prayer time. It stops me in my tracks every time to ponder how, with Jesus, it is well with my soul regardless of what’s swirling around me.
It is well. The words have such a calming effect on me. They remind me God is in control. His love for me is beyond measure, His mercy never-ending. I am in Christ so nothing else that happens in this life matters. The only thing that matters is His peace; the only thing that matters is Him. It is well with me because He is who He is. Nothing can ever separate me from His goodness (Romans 8:35-39). His power is always available to me. With Him, I can get through any stressful situation, sickness, or tragedy. On my own, life often threatens to pull me under. But with Jesus, I know it is well.
Horatio Spafford penned the lyrics to “It Is Well with My Soul” after suffering the loss of his four daughters who drowned at sea. By God’s grace, Horatio’s wife survived the same shipwreck. Mr. Spafford would have been on the ship as well had he not been delayed by business. I can’t imagine the guilt he must have felt. But his response was to praise God in His pain. It was during his grief he wrote those wonderful words. What a testimony to God’s provision and faithfulness.
We shake our fists and become despondent in far more trivial circumstances. We miss out on the front row parking space and become oblivious to the beauty of creation surrounding us. In every situation, from the smallest to the most life-altering, God is with us. Because this is true, we too can say, “it is well”. We have Christ. What more could we desire?
How is your soul? Is it well? Have you gotten caught up in the hurry and worry around you to the point you feel overwhelmed? It happens to all of us, despite our best intentions. If this is where you find yourself today, stop for a moment. Sit down, take a breath, and remind yourself, “it is well” because you have Jesus. If you’re able, spend a short time dwelling on His love while listening to an instrumental version of this wonderful old hymn (you can hear a version I enjoy by clicking here). We are not alone, and we need not despair. If you have Jesus, you can confidently declare “It is well with my soul!”