I’m a music person. Classical, rock, jazz, new age, country. Almost any kind of music. There is just something about a song that can reach down into my soul. My favorite music of all time is Southern gospel. Southern gospel music is 4 part harmony music usually sung by a quartet. I love the harmonies in this style of music. I’m sure part of this has to do with how and where I grew up. When I listen to someone singing Southern gospel music it touches me deep down in that soul place and reminds me of home.
Today in my devotion, I was reading about hymns and one in particular. “It Is Well With My Soul” which is probably my most favorite hymn of all times. If you grew up in any type of church you have probably sung this song at some time or another. This hymn was written in 1873 by Horatio Spatford during a voyage across the ocean to England. In that voyage he wrote this hymn as he was crossing the place where, on a previous voyage that his wife and 4 daughters had taken, the ship crashed into another ship and his 4 daughters were drowned at sea. Only his wife survived. I had heard this part of the story growing up in church but there is more to the story that I hadn’t heard.
Horatio Spatford was a successful business man and lawyer. A few years earlier, he had lost his only son to scarlet fever. At this time he had 3 daughters and one son. Later, the 4th daughter was added to the family. Not long after that tragedy, he had also invested in real estate in Chicago and lost his property and the family fortune in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. So, two years later he decided to send his wife and daughters to England and then join them there a few months later.
As I was reading the words to this hymn something stood out to me. Although Horatio Spatford had suffered terrible tragedy’s in a span of about three years, he didn’t write oh poor me. Why is my life so terrible! God doesn’t care about me anymore. No! The first verse to this song says “When peace, like a river attends 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”.
Then, he continues to write about that no matter what trial he might have to face that he is confident in the fact that Jesus Christ shed his own blood for his sins and gives thanks to God that all is well with his soul.
I have been in this place. This solitary lonely place where the hopes and dreams you’ve planned have been shattered and are laying in pieces at your feet. The difference between me and Horatio Spatford is he chose to give his grief back to God.
I have held on to my grief for a long time. I have used it like a blanket against any outside interference. I have used it like a shield should anyone want to get close to me. I was angry at God for a long time. I blamed God for the shattered dream that laid pieces. I have been stuck and standing in the broken pieces of glass for 12 years. Oh, I have moved forward but each time I come around to the spot, I get stuck again. It is time to step out of this place and give that grief back to God and keep walking.
Today, as I past the place of that shattered dream, I say it is well with my soul.