March 24—It Is Well with My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth 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.” (“It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Spafford)

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:38–40 NIV)

When the Great Chicago Fire spread across nearly three and a half acres of the Windy City in October of 1871, Horatio Spafford lost most of his real estate investments. Earlier that year, his only son died. It was only two years later that this devout Christian was dealt another blow. The entire family planned to join D. L. Moody at one of his campaigns in Great Britain, but Spafford was held back by some last-minute business, so he sent his wife and four daughters ahead. Several days later, he received a cable from his wife that read, “Saved alone.” The ship they were on had been struck by another vessel and suck in a matter of minutes. Spafford dropped everything and left to join his wife on the other side of the Atlantic. It was during his voyage, in the midst of one of the darkest periods of his life, that he wrote “It Is Well with My Soul,” one of the most beloved and popular hymns of the past one hundred years.

Spafford knew that Jesus had the power to calm the storm. He also knew that even when Jesus does not calm the storm, He provides His peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Spafford did not deny his grief, but he held onto Jesus more tightly than he held his grief.

Think back to the storms of your life and take note of where God has calmed them for you and where He has instead invited you to accept His peace in the midst of your troubles. You might not need to look back any further than the recent days; the COVID-19 pandemic has given space for the fear inside us all to bloom. Regularly taking the time to remember God’s presence in your life will help combat fear and bolster your faith in both times of calm seas and raging storms. Dedicate time today to remembering when God has been the peace-bringer in your life and to expressing gratitude to Him.