July

July

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul


This morning I was walking around my clean house,
I had my cup of coffee and I was going to go sit in my chair
by my window and have my appointment with God. I caught
myself and I was humming that song by Horatio Spafford
It Is Well With My Soul. I love that song and in times
of great trial I have found that if I can sing it, it gives me
such deep comfort deep in my heart.

I was thinking of the first time I heard the story of how
that song was written and how sitting on the front row
at my Bible Study, tears poured down my cheeks. I was a
young mother and a new believer and never had I been so moved
by someone who could loose all four children and still be able to say
It is well with my soul. So this morning I picked up a devotional I wanted
to start for this year and imagine to my delighted eyes what was the first
story.


This is called Whatever My Lot, by Elisabeth Elliot from her
book called " Secure in the Everlasting Arms." I am typing out
the whole of it as it is so good.
" Just after the Arab-Israeli war in 1967, I spent ten weeks in Jerusalem.
One afternoon I was invited to have tea with Mrs Bertha Spafford Vester,
who had lived there all of her ninety-one years. A fascinating woman, she was
the fifth daughter of Horatio Spafford, who wrote the song, " It is Well with My Soul."
The story of that beautiful hymn is familiar to many, but Mrs. Vester added details that
were new to me.

The great Chicago fire of the 1870s caused Spafford, a wealthy businessman, to take stock
of his life. Wanting to know Jesus better, He decided to sell everything and move to
the land where He had walked. Shortly before the ship sailed, he was delayed by
business, but took the family to New York. For some reason that he was unable to explain
he had the purser change their cabin, moving them closer to the bow. He returned
to Chicago to finish his business. Then came a telegram; SAVED ALONE. The ship
had sunk. Mrs Spafford had survived. Their four daughters had perished. Had they been
in the cabin originally reserved amidships, all five would have drowned, for it was just there
that the steamer had been struck by another vessel.

"As we sipped tea and munched on Arab sweets, Mrs. Vester, who had not been born
until after the disaster, told me how her mother had described that terrible black night
when she and her four little girls were flung into the cold sea. Frantically, she had tried
to save them. Barely, she had been able to touch with her fingertips the hem of the little
gown of one, but could not grasp it. She herself had been miraculously rescued as she floated unconscious on a piece of flotsam.

During Mr. Spafford's voyage to join his wife in France, the captain summoned him one day to the bridge pointing to the charts he explained that it was just here, where they were at
that moment, that the other ship had gone down. Spafford returned to his cabin and wrote
the hymn, which has comforted countless thousands."

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."
( pg. 17-19)



When I read that I am always comforted in that God gave
that family another baby. One of the things I also find comforting
that out of this mans deep sorrow and pain he wrote words
that bring comfort when I am able to get to that point of relinquishing
all that I might be holding on in my hands. I love the word
relinquish, because in it I find peace and rest. It is only then
I may go to God and say to Him with my whole heart,
"Not my will, Lord but Thine.

I was just into my 20s when I heard this story. At that
time of life, I had not walked the paths I have walked now.
God has had many, many gifts to give me thus far. I know
that inside any trial if I look deep enough, quietly like this flower,
I will find joy.
The words I can sing today is,
" It is well with my soul."
One more other aside, I read everything Grace Livingston Hill wrote
when I was young. She was related to Horatio Spafford. I just thought
I would share that today. I was singing that song, and the cat begged
to go outside in the cold. :) I thought I would let you know that too.
Oh and the dog got under the bed.
Thanks for coming by today,
~Kim~

16 comments:

  1. I love that song...one of my favorites and one I sing often. It was also the song sung for my father-in-law's funeral along with another song written by my husband.
    I recently have finished the biography of DL Moody and read about his part during the Chicago fire.
    I knew the story behind the song, but not the other part...thanks for sharing, so inspiring

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  2. What a horror for that family to experience, then pick up and continue. And inspire others as well. :)

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  3. Beautifully written post, Kim! You bless me everyday!~ I have a confession to make, I'm not reading the journal entries in the book. I'm guessing there may be something there that will relate to the story, but I believe she will refer back to it and I think that will be good enough for me!! ha! ha! I tried reading some of it and it is just too tedious and all the Irish speech. Geez, I've had to read a sentence over and over to understand what they are saying!! I'm determined to hang in there...I know it will be worth it!

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  4. I am always in awe of the strength displayed by some people. That is a beautiful story and so very inspiring. Some days when I am having a tough time, I always try to remind myself that things could be worse. It always gets me through.

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  5. Wonderful post as always Kim. I don’t know how some families make it through tragic events but they more often do than don’t. I too love that song and it gives me such strength when I sing it, often in the spring and in the shower--I know that is strange but true. I sing it like I’m Pavoratti. I didn’t know why it was written either. Inspiration for sure.
    Hugs, Amy

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  6. Kim, I love the story behind the Hymn. I bought a CD from a friend who just launched his own CD recently and It is Well with my Soul is on it. Thanks for telling the story. JB

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  7. That is also one of my most favorite hymns. It has helped me through the last few years through some of the trials of life.
    Sometimes we don't realize why something is happening but your right we can find peace in Not my will but God's will.

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  8. Kim, this is my husband's favorite song, and when he read the story that you shared he just cried, then the song had even more meaning.Thank you for the added information. I will share with him this evening. I know he will be elated to know that God had given them another child.

    I was glad to read of you having your house clean and back in order. That was my plans but a sinus infection and vertigo had other plans, I am much better and plan to start tomorrow.
    Hope your day is filled with many more blessings.
    Hugs, Sue

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  9. I do not believe that Grace Livingston Hill was related to Horatio Spafford.

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  10. Dear Anonymous reader,I am sorry you think I would ever publish anything that might not be true. I found my information by a book about her life called,
    Grace Livingston Hill, By her Great grandson Robert Munce
    It is still for sale by Amazon for $ 22.95 It is a good book and goes into great detail about her life and as well as being related to Horatio Spafford, Her aunt,Isabella Macdonald Alden was the famous writer who was known for writing the Pansy books. She published Grace Livingston Hills first book when she was still a child.
    I hope you continue reading my blog and I wish you the best.

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  11. Thank you , thank you for this post. I too love this song and the story behind it. I understand too as we grow older these words mean even more and we understand them better. My Mom and I are great lovers of Grace Livingston Hill books. They are so wonderful. Blessings on your day.

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  12. There are so many wonderful stories behind our great hymns; this is one of my favorites. I always am brought to tears when I try to sing it. Bless the name of God we can say, "it is well with my soul" and all because of Jesus.
    I didn't know Grace Livingston Hills was related to Spafford, interesting indeed.

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  13. dear kim,

    i started to say, "i do not think the fifth daughter of
    horatio spafford wrote that song," but that would be
    just plain mean. and ornery.

    it is IMPOSSIBLE to sing that venerable and anointed
    hymn without weeping. it drives into the core each
    time.

    when i read your amazing comment about raising
    your teenagers, my mouth fell open. you should be
    writing this series instead of me. we had some heart
    breaking things occur, but my testimony is that we
    have a warm, loving, and respectful relationship with
    each of them now.

    love,
    lea

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  14. This post spoke to my heart as many of yours do. I am so glad to call you friend.

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  15. It's been one of my favorite story's for years. I have also found comfort many times that a heart so deeply hurting still knew and could pen those words, that it was well with his soul. Amazing testimony.

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  16. Kim, I typed a comment on your blog and posted it and it said that the page didn't exist so I'm using your previous post to send my comment. My comment was somewhat like Kim's . I had goose bumps as I read it and I'm so glad that you didn't go in that cult. The Holy Spirit never deceives and enlightens us. Blessings. JB

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