Is It Well With Your Soul?

Is It Well With Your Soul?

“Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..

Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford's life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.

For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing, It Is Well With My Soul.” (

I grew up in church, but neither of my parents did. Neither had the saving grace of Jesus Christ, until the Holy Spirit grabbed hold of my parents, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents on both sides and radically saved almost all of my extended immediate relatives in a six month time period. This in it self, holds quite a story that I will save for maybe another day.

My parents began taking me to church quite early in my life and I was raised in a Baptist denominational setting, singing this very song in church out of the old hymnals that occupied the pew just in front of my view every week. As a kid I wasn’t sure what I thought of church. I didn’t dislike it, but I’m not sure I liked it either. But one Sunday morning in Sunday school class, there wasn’t hardly a kid there besides myself, I prayed with the teacher and asked Christ into my life. I can remember little about this teacher, but that she was very elderly and I remember the warmth of my heart I felt for her so I must have liked her and thought her nice. I do, however, vividly remember her giving me as a gift after my prayer, a small circular mirror with a picture of Jesus on the back, as pictures of Jesus used to be portrayed. I vividly remember being so blessed by this little gift and looking at the man on the back and my heart being touched. This was my first real connection with what I call the most fascinating relationship I have every had. This is where my friendship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit truly began. I was fascinated, but spent more than the next 20 years not knowing why. I saved that mirror for most of my life. I’ve only lost track of it since 2004 when God radically altered my life and this song, “It Is Well With My Soul”, became so much more to me than just a song we sang on Sunday at church growing up as a kid.

Who is Jesus to you? What are your cares of this world? Maybe you didn’t have a childhood like I had. I didn’t come from a perfect family, but God sheltered me and gave me the care of a good home. Maybe your past looks a little more troubling or tear stained. Who is Jesus to you? Have you given him opportunity to save you? I’m not just speaking of your soul. I’m speaking of every hurt, painful experience or bad choice you have ever had to walk out. Have you turned it all over to him? It’s HIS pain, HIS trouble, HIS issue don’t you know? God never expected man to walk the earth alone. Sure, He gave Adam a helper in Eve, but what He really gave to man was HIS Presence and Community. He gave himself.

In my community the churches unite quarterly and abandon denominationalism to be the Church, United in prayer, song and Word. It is a coming together for the purpose of mutual encouragement and loving our city. I encourage you to attend if you are in my city of Stockton, CA. If you are not, I encourage you to attend or begin such a movement in your own city. America is one beautiful land and the best way we can create beauty within her is to stand together, loving one another, and reaching out to those God puts on our path.

We sang this song, “It is well with my soul”, last night at this service. I hadn’t heard it played that way in such a long time. It flooded my heart with memories of my childhood. It flooded my heart to 2004 when God imbedded the question into the depth of my heart in a very unique way at a very unique time in my life where God was pulling me to a new level of commitment to HIm. “Is it well with your soul?”

In the Body of Christ we all have an assignment of God so to speak. In fact…

You were created for a purpose on purpose by a God who is Glorious with Purpose.

Nobody else can do what you do, just the way you do it. God made you unique and able in so many ways, but to truly be effective we have to get to this place of rest. A place where we can honestly look to heaven, look to our own heart, our own soul and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is well. It truly doesn’t matter what you life has looked like up to this point in time. We all have different backgrounds, but our backgrounds have one thing in common…the past is gone and done and behind us. Let us treat it like an old cassette tape and erase it instead of replaying it. Don’t look back. Don’t give up. Don’t spend one more day with regret in your heart. You can do all things through Christ who will give you strength and He will go before you and He will make a way for you to conquer all the obstacles that hinder you (fear, anger, pain of past, etc.) and He will mend all things within you that maybe need mending. I don’t know what the Lord has for you, that is truly between Him and you. I do however know what He has given me to do and this business of heart mending is where I belong. My heart, mind and eye are on all of God’s little sparrows who are broken and unable to fly or maybe they can but not as high as God intended them to reach out into the sky because of pain.

Do not lose heart Dear Ones. God has given you the power to overcome. Do not worry or grieve any longer if pain is holding you back.

Pain expresses itself in many ways. It can look like poor self worth. It can look like alcoholism or addictions of all kinds. It can look like domestic violence or abandonment. It can look like intense poverty or even manageable poverty, the kind that keeps your nose just above water but you can’t get to the other side. It can look like a rebellious or wayward child. It can look cool and aloof that is really camouflage for fear of being hurt. It is seen in all forms of violence and crime. Ultimately, all problems, troubles, etc. are a result of pain in a person’s life in varying extremes. Your trials may be the result of your own pain or someone else's. The more generations pass by without healing and heart mending, the deeper the issues, the pain, the problems. God has a plan to make it stop now in our communities, homes, and our individual lives. God is looking to rebuild your inner self as Nehemiah built a wall around Israel in the Old Testament. (I love the book of Nehemiah. If you are looking for this type of healing I suggest you research Jack Hayford Ministries. He has written an excellent book on rebuilding your brokenness-a study of the book of Nehemiah- that I believe is still in print.)

Who is Jesus in your life? Is He a part of your life at all? Would you like to know how to know him as friend and not just some picture of a man on the back of my little mirror? Would you like to have heart mending and know beyond a shadow of doubt that it is well with your soul?

Jesus is a heart mender. He gets it. He knows you heart and soul. He feels your heart beat and has been walking with you every day since your first day. Are you ready to walk with Him?


“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8