About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Is Well With My Soul
Horatio Stafford (1828 -
1888) was a wealthy Christian lawyer and business man.
He lived in Chicago
during the great fire of October 8, 1871.
The fire destroyed much of the city, including his real-estate
investments. As bad as this
loss was, shortly before this disaster, his son suddenly died.
Horatio certainly had reason to sorrow.
As sad as this was, the tragedy doesn't end here.
Two years after the great
fire and the death of his son, Horatio planned a preaching campaign with
Dwight L. Moody in England. Since he was going to England, he made arrangements for his wife and four daughters to accompany him.
Although he would be busy doing the work of the Lord, he hoped
the trip would be a needed vacation
to ease the heart and mind of his sorrowing wife.
Horatio sent his wife and
four daughters on ahead while he stayed home to do some last minute
business. He was to join
them in England
later. Several days passed
when he received news that the ship carrying his wife and daughters sunk
during a bad storm, killing all four daughters.
Only his wife survived. What
was meant to be a vacation for his sorrowing wife, and the work of the
Lord for Horatio, became a horrible nightmare.
Most of us would have
been pretty upset with the Lord if found in a similar situation.
Why would Jesus allow the loss of a son, four daughters, and a
lifetime of investments? Where's
the logic? Where's the love
of God? This disaster didn't
look like the good news Horatio set out to preach in England.
I'm sure Horatio had his
moments, but his deepest feelings were penned in what has become one of
my favourite hymns. "It Is Well With My Soul" portrays the
emotion of a man who had surrendered all of his life to Jesus.
The lyrics of the hymn
are as follows.
peace like a river attendeth my way,
trials should come,
is one great hymn of the church because it is packed full of Biblically
accurate theological truths. I
could write pages on each and every line.
first thing to note is how Horatio felt after his tragedy.
Despite his loss, he was at peace with Jesus.
"Whatever his lot" in life, in sorrow or in satanic
attack, or even "when sea billows roll", it was well with his
soul. He had handed his life
over to Jesus and these horrific events didn't cause him to take his
said that "Christ had regarded his helpless estate".
He understood Romans 7. Even
the best of us are depraved, helpless, and unable to make our way out
the pit of sin we're born into. Horatio
knew the reality of the human condition, but he also knew the reality of
the cross of Christ. Jesus
regarded his helpless estate, and had shed His blood for his soul. The
sinless God became sin on the cross so Horatio and others could be free
from the consequences of sin.
following is my favourite verse.
the seriousness of his sinful condition, Horatio is overwhelmed with
"the bliss of a glorious thought".
All of his sins, not part of them, but all of them, were
nailed to the cross with Jesus. This
blissful thought overpowered any sense of shame due to his sin.
It also got him through the losses of those he loved.
He could hardly fathom that the Son of the living God would carry
all of his sin to the cross. "I bear it no more," he penned.
What else can I say. He
said it so well.
closes with his eager anticipation of the return of His Saviour.
What he now knew by faith, he'd see for real.
His soul was ready to meet Jesus.
the these great theological truth expressed in this hymn create the same
emotion, the same peace, the same stability, in us as it did in Horatio
Stafford so many years ago. Such
inspired hymns are timeless and should never be forgotten.
They are as relevant today as the day they were written because
Biblical truth is always relevant.