I know, I’ve skipped another day of blogging. I have things to write, I’m just stuck writing case study reports and solving econ problem sets. I’ve spent about 10 hours of my last three days in the library, if that gives you an idea of where I am.
But I wanted to share this with y’all really quick.
I’ve heard this story twice in the past couple of days. And it made me cry. I haven’t been able to shake it’s weight upon my heart, especially in light of Advent reflections and heaviness in the lives of people I love and care about. You may not know the story, but you definitely know the song: It is well with my soul.
This hymn was written by Horatio Spafford in the 19th century. He was a lawyer in Chicago. He waited until his thirties to marry the love of his life, Anna. They had four daughters and a son. Their Christian fellowship included the family of Dwight and Emma Moody.
But then their only son died. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the investments that Spafford had spent years building. So, he did what any good father would do. Sensing his family’s need for space and rest, he planned a trip to Europe for his wife and four daughters. He planned on meeting them overseas and then traveling to a evangelistic campaign in England. He was only supposed to be a few days behind them and then they would be joyously reunited for a much needed time of healing.
Then he got news that there had been a collision.
The boat had sunk.
His four daughters had drowned. Only Anna survived.
With unimaginable heaviness, Spafford boarded the same means of transportation that had just claimed the lives of his beloved children. He knew that his grieving, devastated bride waited for him on the other side of his journey. His life was not what it had been a few years ago. I have to imagine that in that moment he felt a lot like Job. How was he supposed to believe in a good God when everything he loved had been so abruptly taken from him?
It was while he was sitting on the bow of the ship, watching the Atlantic waters that had swallowed up the lives of his girls, that Spafford began to write, began to pray:
when sorrows, like sea billows roll
whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
it is well
it is well with my soul
I don’t know where you are right now. I don’t know what is weighing on your heart. Maybe it’s finals. Maybe it’s changing seasons. Maybe it’s sickness. Maybe it’s a lot heavier than you wanted or asked for or ever imagined.
Wherever you are, I pray the truth of these lyrics, penned in solidarity and truth, wash over you today. Jesus is near. Your sins are forgiven. You are loved. He is victorious. And whether it feels like it or not, it is well with your soul.