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The Story Behind Horatio Spafford’s Hymn, It Is Well with My Soul

April 5, 2015

One of my all-time favorite hymns is It Is Well with My Soul, written and published c.1873-78, by Chicago lawyer Horatio Spafford.

horatio spafford

Before writing this hymn, Spafford experienced a series of profound losses, including the burning of his real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fire (1871) and the deaths of one son and four daughters.

Here is a five-minute video of Spafford’s story:

And here are the lyrics to his hymn, It Is Well with My Soul:

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.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though 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, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to 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.

An instrumental version of the above hymn can be heard here:

Wishing all of my readers a Happy Easter.


  1. Thank you Mercedes. And we give thanks to our God for blessing you with the talent to see and deliver truth to many peoole.

  2. thank you for the special post today; Mrs. Spafford was found as one of 47 survivors clinging to a piece of wreckage and taken to Cardiff, Wales, where she cabled her husband that he had been rescued when the Ville du Havre collided with the Niagara. The music for this song was written by Philip Bliss who also died in a terrible train wreck, with his wife, in Ohio. (from a paperback book by Robert J. Morgan: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories)

  3. Tiffany Jones permalink

    Thank You for posting this today!

  4. Carol Borg permalink

    Thank you for lovely piece for today!

  5. Derek permalink

    Like you and yours, truly beautiful wisdom and truth that triumphs through years of opposition and suppression. Thank you and may continue to bless you with it.

  6. Pat, this was such a touching story, perfect for Easter contemplation. Such incredible faith leaves me in awe of those who find it, and then share it in such a timeless way. Happy Easter!

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  1. Mercedes Wishes You a Happy Easter, I Wish You a Happy Passover | Diane Ravitch's blog

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