It is Well with My Soul Lyrics

Notes on the Hymn

It is Well with My Soul

Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888) Source:

The early 1870s were difficult for Horatio G. Spafford, successful Chicago lawyer and businessman. First, his only son died in 1870. Then he suffered significant real estate losses in the great Chicago fire of 1871. Refusing to despair, he threw himself with renewed vigor into his legal and business affairs. His efforts were successful and in November, 1873, he planned a family vacation to Scotland. Unexpected business demands interrupted these plans. Instead of cancelling, Spafford accompanied his wife and four daughters to New York. There, he booked them on the French steamer “Ville du Havre,” planning to meet them a short time later.

Saved Alone

On November 22, 1873, an English ship collided with the “Ville du Havre.” The French ship sank 15,000 feet into the cold Atlantic Ocean within twelve minutes. A few days later, Spafford received a telegram sent by his wife from Cardiff, Wales: “Saved Alone. What shall I do?” He immediately returned to New York and set sail to join his distraught wife. Reports vary as to when Spafford wrote his only hymn which has provided comfort to so many. However, all confirm “It is Well with my Soul” was his moving, inspiring response to the loss of his daughters.

It is Well with My Soul

By Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888)

(stanzas 1 & 2)

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.

Refrain: It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
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.


(3 & 4)

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.


(5 & 6)

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!
Blessèd hope, blessèd 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.


Click link below for another inspirational hymn written about the same time

All the Way, my Savior Leads Me Hymn

About the Author Larry Frazier

Larry spent 24 years teaching music at the University of West Georgia to over 6,000 students. Ten years ago, Larry and his wife Mary Lynn, received comfort, support and inspiration from traditional Christian hymns while she overcame stage-three colon cancer. Larry is on a mission to help you discover God’s incredible power through the intersection of faith and Christian music in your life.