(Philippians 4:7)

***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER: Lord, as I come to you this day, you know the challenges I am facing at this moment. You are the same God who walked with me through the challenges of yesterday, and you are the same God who will walk with me today. Despite the things of this world, the evil that exists, let me find your peace and your joy at all times. In the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AMEN!

One of the great hymns of the church is, “It is well with my soul.” What makes the words of this hymn so powerful are the circumstances during which they were written. I have always loved this great hymn, loved it even more decades ago when I read the story behind it. In recent years as I have gotten older, I have actually began listening to the words in a different way. It became not just a great hymn of the faith, but a real spiritual challenge to me personally. A challenge that I will make to you at the end of today’s Daily Devotional.!

The
author, Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888), was a Presbyterian layman from Chicago. He had established a very successful legal practice as a young businessman and was also a devout Christian. Among his close friends were several evangelists including the famous Dwight L. Moody, also from Chicago.

Spafford’s fortune evaporated in the wake of the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Having invested heavily in real estate along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, he lost everything overnight. In a saga reminiscent of Job, his son died a short time before his financial disaster. But the worst was yet to come.

Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck tells the story: “Desiring a rest for his wife and four daughters as well as wishing to join and assist Moody and [his musician Ira] Sankey in one of their campaigns in Great Britain, Spafford planned a European trip for his family in 1873. In November of that year, due to unexpected last-minute business developments, he had to remain in Chicago, but! sent his wife
and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on the S.S. Ville du Havre. He expected to follow in a few days.

“On November 22 the ship was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel, and sank in twelve minutes. Several days later the survivors were finally landed at Cardiff, Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, ‘Saved alone.’”

Spafford left immediately to join his wife. This hymn is said to have been penned as he approached the area of the ocean thought to be where the ship carrying his daughters had sunk.

Another daughter, Bertha, was born in 1878 as well as a son, Horatio, in 1880, though he later died of scarlet fever. After the birth of daughter Grace in 1881, Spafford and his wife moved to Jerusalem out of a deep interest in the Holy Land. There they established the American Colony, a Christian utopian society engaged in philanthropic activities among Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The somber and peaceful music was written by gospel son! gwriter Philip
Bliss (1838-1876).

Lyrics

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.

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.

Refrain:

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!

Refrain:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

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.

Refrain:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

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!

Refrain:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

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.

Refrain:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Today is a day when I don’t want to say anything to dilute these powerful words that Spafford penned. I want you to read them for yourself. My challenge to yo! u is the same
challenge I have posed to myself. As I sit here this very moment, with all of the issues of life that are present as there always are, can I honestly say to my God…it is well with my soul!

CAN YOU SAY TODAY, “it is well with my soul?”

In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller