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It is well with my soul

A devotion on thanksgiving and faith

I had a serious procedure a few weeks ago, and I was scared. 

Before my procedure, I had some time of waiting, and I kept asking God to help me handle whatever was coming and to give me the strength to keep going if I received bad news. 

After my prayers, I just kept humming the hymn, “It is well with my soul.” Over and over, the song played on my heart. And my prayer was, “No matter what, God, it is well with my soul.”

The outcome was disappointing and not what I expected to hear. You never want to hear your cancer has returned. I was so heartbroken. I started crying immediately from the disappointment, and by the time I was getting into my dad’s truck, my spirit was still heavy. 

Before he even pulled out of the parking lot, the very first song I heard on the radio was, “It is well with my soul.” Naturally, the tears started all over. I didn’t know if the coincidence meant anything at all, but it brought me peace in the moment. It was like God was telling me I was not alone. 

Later at home, I remembered the history behind the hymn. Are you familiar? It was written by Horatio Spafford in 1873 after a series of just one calamity after another. 

In just a few years, Spafford’s only son died, he suffered severe financial loss in the Great Chicago Fire, and his financial investments continued to dwindle with the economic downturn following the fire. 

In 1873, Spafford and his family were going to travel to England to help with Moody’s evangelistic campaigns. At the last minute, some business prevented Spafford from leaving on time. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead, with the intention of following within a few days. The boat suffered a tragic accident, where only his wife survived. His wife sent him what had to be the hardest two words ever, “Saved alone.” 

Spafford left immediately to join his wife, and as he passed the spot on the ocean where his daughters were lost, he penned what we know today as the hymn, “It is well with my soul.” 

Knowing the background, the hymn is so much more special to me as it brings me comfort during my own series of life-changing, traumatic events. A friend reminded me that the hymn is as much a prayer of thanksgiving as it is a statement of faith. 

If you haven’t heard the hymn, I encourage you to listen to it today, and join me in thanking God for all his mercies. 

Let’s make this is our statement of thanksgiving and faith: No matter what, it is well with my soul. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” –Philippians 4:6-7


Written by Aimee Freston, associate director for digital communications for Buckner International.


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