Thursday, September 1, 2016

It Is Well With My Soul

This was taken at the  Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center (Mountain City, GA) 
during their 50th Anniversary event back in May of this year.

When peace like a river attendeth my way, 
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

Though Satan shall buffet, tho' trials should come, 
Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 
And hath shed His own blood for 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 Lord shall descend.
"Even so" it is well with my soul. 

Lyrics: H.G. Spafford 1873 Composer: P.P. Bliss

I can imagine that this hymn has been sung in many Appalachian churches. It is one of my favorite (among many) hymns. It wasn't until recently that I learned the story behind the song. 

Following the death of his two year old son in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire (which also ruined him financially), Horatio Spafford booked passage to England on a ship for himself, his wife, and four daughters. Due to a late change of plans, Mr. Stafford sent his family ahead without him. While their ship was crossing the North Atlantic, it ran into trouble and sank, taking his four children to a watery grave. His wife miraculously escaped drowning. As soon as Mrs. Spafford was able, she sent a telegraph to her husband that said: "SAVED ALONE". After the husband and wife were reunited, while on the returning voyage home, as the ship neared the place where his children had drowned, it is thought that this was the time he wrote the words to It Is Well With My Soul, describing his own grief and faith at the same time. 

Can you imagine? Mr. Spafford's faith was so strong that he turned his eyes upon Jesus and wrote a song all while dealing with the loss of his five children. His was a true, strong faith. 

Faith is something that runs deep in Appalachia. It is very personal and dear. It is steadfast and what we cling to when our own ships are tossed to and fro. It is something that must be nurtured and shared. I can't imagine a life without my faith. 

What are some of your favorite old hymns?

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