Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the origin of the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”. Horatio Spafford, a prominent Chicago businessman, lost his business and his five children in three separate tragedies within a few short years. After the loss of four of his children in a shipwreck, he penned the well-known hymn. While there is some debate over Spafford’s theology, the words he crafted are Biblical and filled with a truth that can be balm for our souls. When I read the simple phrase “It is well with my soul”, it calls to mind several passages in the Bible:
Hebrews 6:17-20, NIV (Emphasis mine)
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV (Emphasis mine)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV (Emphasis mine)
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
John 10:27-28, NIV (Emphasis mine)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
As Christians, our deepest need has been met in Christ. Our souls have been put into right relationship with our Creator and our eternal future with Him is secure. There is no greater human need and, if we could really understand the things of God, I am convinced that we would know that there is nothing else worth desiring in comparison to this one thing – Eternity with Jesus.
Life on this earth while we await our final home is filled with challenges though. It can be difficult to keep our eyes fixed on eternity when tangible, physical struggles seem to take center stage at times. It is important to be continually in the Word so we are reminded daily of the truth and our focus is increasingly pulled upward instead of inward. Singing hymns and worship songs can also redirect our minds back to the unchanging truth of the Gospel. “It Is Well With My Soul” has long been a song that I turn to when my anxiety is high and my soul needs to find its footing again in the unshakable reality that earth is not heaven and my final destination is with the One who created me.
When the future is uncertain….it is well with my soul
When my husband is facing unemployment…it is well with my soul
When the car doesn’t start…it is well with my soul
When people unjustly criticize me…it is well with my soul
When the life I had imagined for myself does not happen…it is well with my soul
When mental illness takes a family member’s life…it is well with my soul
When I am up late worrying about “what ifs” …it is well with my soul
If we are in Christ, nothing this world throws at us will change the profound reality that it is well with our souls. They are safe, secure, and held for eternity. We will see Jesus. I hope that you’re able to pause today and rest in this truth.
See the full lyrics of “It Is Well With My Soul” here.
What about you? What song do you turn to as a reminder of truth? In your life, where do you need this reminder: When_____________________…it is well with my soul. If you are comfortable sharing, please do so in the comments!
Lettering design by Sarah Boulware of @letterseed