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It is well with my soul

Updated on December 5, 2010


Have you ever wondered the meanings behind the old famous Hymns, what were the stories behind them? Was it for tragedy these songs where written about? I have wondered so I invested in a book that gives us the story behind the songs. I would like to share some of the hymns with you that I was touched by and I will promise you that when you sing these hymns you won’t be able to sing the hymn with out thinking about the story. To me knowing the stories behind the hymns makes the song more personal and meaningful. All information I am giving comes from the book “Living Stories of Famous Hymns, by Ernest K. Emurian.”

Let’s start with one of my favorite hymn, “It is well with my soul” The French liner, “S.S. Villa du Havre, was one of the most luxurious ships around. The year was1873 and this ship was sailing from New York to France Mrs. Spafford and her four children, Maggie, Tanetta, Annie and Bessie were passengers. Mr. Spafford was not able to travel with them due to a fire in his company. The fire was the big fire in Chicago in 1873. He was in good spirits knowing his family were among other Christian passengers. As he was placing his family on board he promised to meet them all in France as soon as possible.

It was two o’clock in the morning on Nov. 22 1873 and the ship was sailing on a peaceful sea. That ended when the ship was rammed into by the English iron sailing vessel, the “Lochearn” In twelve minutes the “Villa du Havre” settled to the bottom of the ocean. The loss of some two-hundred twenty six lives including the four Spafford children. The survivors landed in Cardiff, Wales and among them was Mrs. Spafford. Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband these two words, “Saved alone.” When Mr. Spafford received the message he said to one of his friends, “I am glad to trust the Lord when it will cost me something.” For him this was the third time of testing coming right after the first, prier to the fire He had lost a son. In the Chicago fire he had lost everything he owned and on the sea he lost his children. As soon as he was able he booked a passage on a ship to Europe to join his wife. On his way over the Captain called him to his cabin and said, “I believe we are now passing over the spot where the Villa du Havre went down.” Can you amazen being the one the captain said that to and knowing your children’s bodies where under you. Needles to say Mr. Spafford did not sleep well that night. But soon his faith conquered his doubt and there, in the med-Atlantic, out of his heart break and pain, Mr. Spafford wrote five stanzas, the first of which contains these lines:

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea-billows roll,

What ever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, It is well with my soul”

When Mr. and Mrs Spafford meet up with each other Mrs. Spafford said, “I have not lost my children; we are only separated for a little time.

Phillip Paul Bliss was a song leader and a composer. He and Mr. Spafford both had been associated with Moody and Sankey in several of their evangelistic meetings. One day Mr, Spafford requested that Mr. Bliss would take the poem and put it to music. So he did as Mr Spafford had asked. A few days or months after writing the music to the song Mr Bliss and his wife were killed in their travels on a train. Some of the survivors said that Mr. Bliss could have been one of the survivors but he chooses to hold his wife instead.

The song still lives on very strong today.

It is well, It is well, with my soul


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    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

      CarrieG, Inspiring & Beautiful! Having the Lord in our lives makes all the difference in the world! I can truly say, "It is WELL with my soul!" PRAISE GOD!

      Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      CarrieG enjoyed reading your well written hub! I've not heard of this hymn before,it's so nice when you can learn or find out new things from reading someones hub....awesome!

      Great hub!!!

    • CarrieG profile image

      CarrieG 7 years ago from Nevada

      Thank you my brother from the same

      I am going to do as many as I know. I was just thinking and looking at the book to see which one I was going to do next. I also did a serach on his last days, that is to sad.

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 7 years ago from USA- Florida

      This sing is one of my favorites too. You told the story very well. I loved it.

      Do More


    • CarrieG profile image

      CarrieG 7 years ago from Nevada

      Thank you Cari, I agree with you, although I have never had to go through something like that to find out what I am made of, I can only pray that I don't have to find out and if God chose that I would be able to say, "it is well with my soul"

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      It is amazing what beautiful things can come from our pain and suffering. Only God can do that! Thanks for sharing this - I love that song as well.