Tag Archives: Hymn

It Is Well

Ihoratio-g-spaffordf you’ve never heard the story of Horatio Gates Spafford, it’s quite inspiring. Born in 1828, he became a well-known lawyer in Chicago in the 1860’s. Spafford and his wife Anna married in 1861, were active in their church, and began a family.

In addition to his position as senior partner in a successful law firm, Spafford also decided to become an investor in downtown Chicago real estate early in 1871. Unfortunately, later that year, Spafford suffered a huge financial set back when his investments were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire. But the family persevered and helped other families who suffered losses from that fire.

By 1873, Spafford and Anna had four daughters, Tanetta, Elizabeth, Maragret Lee, and Annie; Tanetta, the eldest was 11 and Annie, the youngest, was two. It was during this year that Spafford decided his family needed a special vacation and choose to take them on a trip to England where his friend, evangelist D.L. Moody, would also be preaching during the time of their visit.

Spafford had to delay his departure unexpectedly at the last minute because of business, but sent his wife and four daughters on ahead and planned to meet up with them in England. So in November, 1873, Anna and their four daughters set sail on the Ville Du Havre. While crossing the Atlantic near Newfoundland, the ship was struck by another vessel and tragically sunk in icy waters. Anna was one of the few survivors; all four of their daughters were among the 226 travelers who died.

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Anna’s Telegram: “Saved alone….”

As soon as Anna arrived in England, she sent a telegram to her husband that began, “Saved alone.” Spafford left for England to join his grieving wife, sailing over the location where his daughters had drowned. During the rest of his  journey to England, he penned the words to the well-known hymn, 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…

How could someone experience all this tragedy and say “It is well”? Author Stuart Briscoe has a great insight in his book, A Peace of My Mind (pp. 49-50): “I have no doubt that he [Spafford] would have spent every remaining penny of his fortune if it would have brought back any of his children. I am sure he would gladly have taken their place on the stricken ship if it would have saved their young lives. I cannot begin to imagine the emptiness that his father’s heart suffered after losing not only four daughters but also his only son [who died as an infant in 1880 of scarlet fever]. All of this on top of his devastating business losses. He knew pain, he knew anguish, he felt it all, experienced it all, suffered from it all. Just as any other human being would feel, experience, and suffer. He was not unfeeling and he was not a superman. He was an ordinary man whose mind was set on God, who He trusted implicitly–and it showed. So he could say, “It is well. It is well.”

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.


Take My Life and Let It Be

TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE by Frances R. Havergal, 1874

Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.
Ever, only, all for Thee.

The words to the classic hymn Take My Life and Let It Be were written in 1874 by Frances R. Havergal. I found the story behind the hymn at Cyberhymnal.org. There was an excerpt written by Frances herself:

I went for a little visit of five days (to Areley House). There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoic­ing Christians. He gave me the prayer, “Lord, give me all in this house!” And He just did. Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, &c.; then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed them­selves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with “EVER, Only, ALL for Thee!”

Chris Tomlin recorded a beautiful version of this hymn in 2004; I hope you can take the time to listen to it…just click on this link, Take My Life, to see his video performance of it on You Tube.