If you have known me for any period of time, you know that I love music. Music is what drives me. It’s what makes me tick. I love sitting down and listening to a great piece of music. I love to dissect it and see what makes it work.
When I gave my life to Christ 6 years ago I began to love Christian music. I began to not only pay attention to the melodies and harmonies, but also the words. In Christian music, it is the words that make it “Christian.” It is the lyrics that help us to connect with God and worship Him in a way that is absolutely amazing.
Just like the Psalms, some songs we sing mention the glory and majesty of God. Other songs mention the almighty power of God, or of his never-ending love. Other songs we sing mention Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, or of His resurrection.
One of my favorite songs of all time comes from a unique category of music. It’s a song that helps us to remember that whatever our circumstances are, we can still be at peace because of God. Some of these songs come from the darkest pits of despair, and yet still praise God for His love, His patience, His power, and His wisdom.
Horatio Spafford was a wealthy lawyer living in Chicago in the mid 1800’s. He was very wealthy, had a great job, beautiful wife, and four daughters and a son. He was a devout Christian. His life was perfect. Then, they tragically lost their son. A few years later, in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, he lost almost everything, including almost every investment he had.
In 1873, Spafford sent his remaining family on a boat trip to Europe on a much-needed getaway. He was planning on joining them later because he had to take care of some business. A few days later he received news that his family’s boat had been in a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife survived.
He set sail for England to meet up with his grieving wife. He was distraught as he crossed the Atlantic. I imagine that every minute just felt like hours. As they sailed by the place where his family’s boat had sunk, he wrote these words, When sorrows like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.
Here Spafford sits on a boat, watching the waves roll back and forward, realizing that life, just like the waves of the ocean, will have ups and downs. Sometimes, it will be as peaceful as a river, and sometimes it will be a tsunami.
That song, called It is Well With My Soul, is one of the best-known hymns. It’s hard to imagine what Spafford was going through. I can’t even begin to understand what he was feeling as he passed that spot on the ocean. All I know is that God gave him peace that day.
Jesus said in John 16:33 that in this world we will have trouble. He understood that this world was not always going to be gumdrops and rainbows. But here is the good news: Jesus says next that we should take heart, because He had overcome the world. What a beautiful thought. I believe that Spafford began to realize that on the boat that cold day in 1873.
We have peace in Jesus Christ, and although this world will be difficult, we can be comforted that Jesus has already overcome it, and we will soon be with him in eternity. I pray that if you are hurting that God gives you peace. May you be comforted in the arms of Jesus Christ, our savior and redeemer.