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.
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.
He lives – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought.
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to his cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
By Horatio G. Spafford
- The hymnwriter uses the image of a peacefully flowing river for the experience of peace within. He contrasts that to the image of a ship tossed in a huge storm at sea representing unsettled times. Do these images make sense to you? What image do you like to use for feeling either peaceful or distressed?
- The hymnwriter believes God wants him to feel at peace no matter what is happening. What do you think God wants? Are you able to feel at peace when you hear that secular thinkers believe Christians are spewing hate when they say that the will not vote for gay marriage? Are you able to feel at peace when a Muslim says that Americans are evil for allowing women to uncover their hair?
- Where does the hymnwriter think his troubles originate? Can you think of examples of Satan’s buffeting in daily news or in your own life? When someone says that Christians are hate-filled bigots who want the privilege of pushing other people around, would this hymn point you to a response? What fundamental truth gives the hymnwriter assurance in facing his difficulties?
- What is the power base of the hymnwriter’s confidence in the face of challenges? After working through his options, what is the hymnwriter’s ultimate response to adversity?