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It is Well with My Soul

Jun 2, 2017

The words of this hymn have been playing over and over again in my head recently as I have been studying 1 Peter. They clearly teach the beautiful truths of Scripture and call one’s thoughts heavenward. I would like to share the words of this hymn with you now. I pray that they will encourage you in the trials that you face and that perhaps you will find them useful in counseling others.

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

These words capture the whole breadth of life.  When things are going well. When we face no real difficulties. When we have our health.  When we are stable financially. When there are no strained relationships. When life is “good” we can say it is well with my soul.

However, when things are not going will.  When we face great difficulties.  When our health fails and our finances are uncertain.  When relationships are torn apart by sin.  When life is “not good” we can still say it is well with my soul. As the words say “whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well with my soul.”

So, what we find here in these words is a profound truth in Scripture.  Our circumstances do not control us.  Our circumstances do not dictate our responses.  Our circumstances are opportunities to praise God because come what may in this life, it is well with my soul.

How can this be?

The next verse begins to answer that question.

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

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)

It doesn’t matter what we are facing. If the enemy of the saints is buffeting us. If various trials surround us there is one assurance that should come to mind and that is “that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.”  Did you catch the wording? “Let this blest assurance control.” The controlling thought in the midst of suffering, in the midst of trials should be what Christ has done.  Notice the controlling thought is not who I am. It is not my identity.  The controlling thought is not how I have been wronged.  The controlling thought is not I don’t deserve this.  The controlling thought is not why me.  The controlling thought is what Christ has done.  Christ has regarded the helpless estate of the sinner (you and me) and in His great mercy shed His own blood for our souls. Knowing this truth, we can joyfully say “it is well with my soul” regardless of what trials we face.  It doesn’t take the difficulty of the trial away but it sets it in proper perspective.

The third verse continues to answer the question.

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

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)

It is well with our souls because our sin has been dealt with through the blood of Christ.  He took on himself all of our sin, not just part of it.  It has been nailed to the cross. There is nothing left for those in Christ to do.  Christ did not take the majority of our sin and leave a little for us to handle on our own.  He took all of it. We bear it no more.  The ONE PROBLEM we had has been addressed on the cross and knowing that we are right with God because of Christ’s completed work means it is well with our souls.

Finally, we see the culmination of all we have hoped for in Christ.

And, Lord, haste the day when 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

Again, because of what Christ has done it is well with our souls.  We look forward to the day that Christ returns.  We look forward to the day when our faith shall behold its object.  We look forward to the day that we see Christ face to face with no hindrance of sin.  When Christ appears in all of His glory we will say “Even so, it is well with my soul.”

The question with which we must wrestle is, “Is it well with my soul?”

By His Grace Alone,

Josh