It Is Well with My Soul

from by Todd Billingsley

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Many know the story behind Horatio Spafford’s writing of this hymn when he lost all four of his daughters. On an ocean voyage en route to Europe, their ship – the SS Ville du Havre – collided with the Loch Earn and sank. What may not be known is the “Job-like” trauma Spafford encountered in the three years leading up to this tragedy. He lost his only son to scarlet fever in 1870. A year later came the Great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially. He would have been on the ship with his family, but zoning problems arose from the fire. So his family wouldn’t have to wait, he sent them on and planned to meet them later. Traveling to meet his grieving wife who survived, Spafford penned the words as his ship passed near where his daughters died.

The second church I ever served – during my college years in the early 1980s – was as pianist at Riverside Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. My father served as minister of music and my mother was the organist. I arranged this during that time as a piano and organ duet for my mother and me to play as an offertory. It was later published in Pedalpoint magazine and in the collection, Two Plus One, for piano, organ and synthesizer. The arrangement became a favorite of the church’s, and we began using it as an accompaniment for congregational singing.


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,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with 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!

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the 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.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.


from Hymn Anthems, released April 30, 2014




Todd Billingsley New York, New York

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