Friday, August 15, 2014

It Is Well With My Soul

I’m not talking politics today.

Our politics are a mess. America is a mess. The world is a mess.

There’s a headline from the UK’s Independent today that reads: “World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict.”

“Worse still,” the copy complains, “the world as a whole has been getting incrementally less peaceful every year since 2007 – sharply bucking a trend that had seen a global move away from conflict since the end of the Second World War.”

I'd say this indicates quite strongly that the whole lot of us are doing something (or a lot of things) drastically wrong. I don’t know about you, but if I dwell on all of those wrongs for too long, I’m liable to either get very angry or very depressed.

So it’s a good thing I have something else to dwell on. Like how life can go exceptionally wrong politically, societally, globally, economically, socially, emotionally, physically, sexually, psychologically, etc., etc., etc. Yet, it can always be well with my soul.

At least that’s what the 19th century hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul” says. And if anyone would know whether that’s true or not, it’s that song’s writer, Horatio Spafford, who went through one of the most depressing bouts of life I have ever heard of:

·         In 1870, he lost his only son to Scarlet Fever.
·         In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire ruined him financially.
·         In 1873, he sent his family on ahead of him to Europe, planning on following them shortly. Yet while crossing the Atlantic, the ship sunk and all four of his daughters died. His wife had to send him a telegraph giving him the wretched news.

On his own trip across the ocean, Spafford penned “It Is Well With My Soul,” which includes the following chorus:

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Sounds simple enough by itself, right? Hardly the most inspiring set of lyrics… until you know the backstory. And the music it was eventually put to, not to mention the verses make it that much more powerful.

Not to mention that it’s true. I mean, yes, external happiness is awesome. I’m all about friends and family, physical safety and financial security and emotional fulfillment. Bring it on!

But I don’t actually need any of those things. It can be “well with my soul” anytime, anywhere because “my soul” is in God’s hands.

P.S. If you want to hear one of the most gorgeous renditions of this hymn ever, click here. I dare you not to be moved.

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