It is Well with my Soul
w/m - Horatio Gates Spafford, Philip Paul Bliss
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
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Tho' Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul
My sin O the bliss of this glorious tho't
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
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
“It is Well With My Soul” is the fourth most popular hymn of all time (Behind Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, and Holy Holy Holy). It is the quintessential hymn of praise in the midst of trial, and most everyone knows the incredible story behind it (If not, I’ll let you do some research on the web).
So many of us have sung this song during our trials and have been encouraged, but this is a difficult song to sing. Not because the melody is challenging, but because if we really speak these words in testimony, it is a momentous task to live up to.
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.” “Whatever my lot”… that’s all encompassing. While it is true that God will never give you more than He can handle, He often gives us more than we can handle… in our own strength. That is why it is crucial to rest in His.
I have used this illustration many times. When I was in New York City a few years back, looking up at the buildings right next to me, with the clouds moving, it looked as if the building was coming down on me. It can actually be quite frightening. But I have flown over cities in an airplane, and those same skyscrapers now appeared like monopoly hotels. The size of the building did not change, just my perspective. Learn to look through God’s sovereign eyes and rest in His power and you can have peace regardless of how big the trial is.
Tho' Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come, let this blest assurance control: that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and hath shed His own blood for my soul. Many Christians wrongly blame Satan for our trials, and while he may be used to inflict them, he has no power or authority but that which is given him by God. So God is the primary cause and has the primary purpose and plan for the trials. We may lose the whole world… but gain our souls. Christ’s blood does not guarantee the absence of trial, but it does guarantee assurance through it, if we rely on His omnipotence.
My sin O the bliss of this glorious tho’t… 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! This verse may seem disconnected from a song about trials. Yes, our sins are paid for by Christ and we won’t have to pay for them in the lake of fire ourselves, but what does that have to do with the day to day trials of life? The answer is everything.
So many times we read stories like David and Goliath and we insert ourselves as the heroes of the story fighting our “Giants”. We too often take the glory from that battlefield with an, “I can do it” attitude, when the real lesson to be learned is that I CAN’T do it. Without Him, we can do nothing. There is no greater “Giant” in our lives than sin and death, and we are powerless against it, slaves to it. God is the hero who conquered sin and defeated death when we couldn’t. If He can do that, then we can say in the midst of these comparatively tiny problems, “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. One day, the pains and hurts of this life will be gone. All of our tears will be wiped away for we will see Him as He is and we will be like Him. Our minds, wills, and emotions will all be released from the curse of sin that still surrounds our flesh and all will be well with our soul forever and ever.
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for over 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship around the country. Bill and his family attend Belcroft Bible Church in Bowie, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.