So how's your Lenten journey going?
I am not going to get to the true songs of the passion season until next week as I followed a inspirational "rabbit trail" again this week.
Some of these hymns that we take for granted truly have the most compelling back stories. The hymn for today not only has a rich history but it reminds us as Psalm 46 did yesterday, that walking in faith is not promised to be easy, but GOD PROMISES TO BE WITH US, especially in the most difficult times.
I was going to type out the story, but when I found this video with such detailed photos and information, I chose to let it tell you and show you the real deal of this amazing hymn that always stirred me.
I have viewed this numerous times and seeing the real pictures and hearing the talented choir sing that inspired arrangement of these remarkable words of deep faith fill me the warmth of God's love and provision every time I hear it.
Here again are the written words if you want to take a closer look.
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 should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has 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 the 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 pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my 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.
(The original manuscript has only four verses, but Spafford's daughter, Bertha born after this tragedy stated how later another verses were added and the last line of the original was slightly modified.)
The music, written by Phillip Bliss, was named after the ship on which Spafford's daughters died, Ville du Havre.
And here is the after story of the Spaffords:
Following the sinking of the Ville du Havre, Anna gave birth to three more children. On February 11, 1880, their only son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died at the age of four years, of pneumonia. Their daughters were Bertha Hedges Spafford (born March 24, 1878) and Grace Spafford (born January 18, 1881). In August 1881, the Spaffords set out for Jerusalem with their family and others and set up the American Colony in what was still then the British territory called Palestine.
Colony members, later joined by other Christians from around the world, engaged in philanthropic work amongst the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and without proselytizing motives--thereby gaining the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities.
During and immediately after the first world war, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through the great suffering and deprivations of the eastern front by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures. (This was after Spafford had died, but his initiative in founding this group, led this incredible ministry to many)
Spafford died on October 16, 1888, of malaria, still serving God in the Holy Land and was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, Jerusalem.
Today, of course that entire family is reunited IN HEAVEN, when "their faith shall be sight" they endured "Satan's buffet and the trials that came" the son, Horatio, who died at 4; the four daughters who went down with the Ville Du Harve (Annie at age 11, Margaret at age 9, Bessie at age 5 and Tanetta at age 2), mother Anna who was at first in despair for having been "saved alone", and the daughters born later who lived full lives.
The trials. They don't matter now. They all realized CHRIST ALONE saved us all - each one of us -
Nothing on earth can stop this -
Fire, financial ruin. Nope.
KNOWING God and responding to Him, receiving the gift Christ brought on the Cross,
All our trials on this earth - in glory - we will see it from God's perspective.
We hurt along with those who hurt, we help as we are led to and are made able to by God.
But let us look to GOD THIS DAY,
NO MATTER WHAT OUR SEA BILLOWS OF SORROW OR CIRCUMSTANCE ROLL
PRAISE THE LORD
OH MY SOUL
PRAISE THE LORD!