It Is Well With My Soul
In 1873, Horatio Spafford wrote the famous hymn titled, “It Is Well with My Soul.” He wrote this after several traumatic events in his life. First, there was the tragic death of his four-year-old son. Immediately following this unbearable loss, he was financially ruined as his investments went up in flames during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Then, just two years later, all four of his daughters were lost at sea on a voyage to England. His wife’s heartbreaking telegram to him after the disaster simply read, “Saved alone …”
It was on his journey to England to be with his wife when he wrote this powerful hymn. The first stanza reads,
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Whatever My Lot
In his poetic way, Horatio Spafford shares with us a major key to wellness: contentment. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi says much the same when he writes,
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation….” — Philippians 4:11-12
Each of us has gone through highs and lows in our lives physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Learning contentment helps us through the billowing seas and reminds us to be grateful when the river of life is flowing peacefully.
Thou Hast Taught Me to Know
Saying someone should be content whatever the circumstances is all well and good, but how does one go about doing that? Let’s examine this by looking at the third line in the stanza above and by looking at the greatest of all commandments found in Mark 12:30.
First, you may have noticed the third line ends with the words “to know” instead of “to say.” The line was changed later to make it flow better. However, the original words were “to know” and this is more fitting to understanding wellness. Horatio Spafford was stating that God taught him to know (not just verbally say) all was well with his soul even amidst the horrific tragedies of his life. His study of God’s Word and his obedience to God’s commands, led to a deep, beautiful relationship with Jesus. A relationship that kept him well even when the world was falling apart around him.
Wellness of Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength
As Christians, we believe physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellness begins with our obedience to God’s commands. When Jesus was asked to share the most important command in Scripture, he immediately replied with the following,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” — Mark 12:30
This command is the key to wellness. Loving God with all our being allows us to be properly focused. It places God at the center of our lives. Wellness begins when we recognize that it is not about us, but all about Jesus. A life centered around loving and obeying Jesus brings contentment in all circumstances and a wellness for our soul. My prayer is that all of us find this sense of contentment and wellness through a deep, beautiful relationship with Jesus. May it be well with your soul.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.