The dynamic a cappella group BYU Vocal Point released a beautifully inspired rendition of the familiar hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” via their Facebook page on Sunday, 19 February 2017. The video was published on their YouTube channel on Monday, 20 February 2017, and thus far has garnered more than 26, 000 views.
The melodic voices of the members of the group combined with the deep feelings and emotions behind the words that are sung are likened to a healing balm that gives serenity to troubled souls tossed about on the rough seas of life enabling them to say “Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.” McKay Crockett, Director of Vocal Point, has commented, “It Is Well with My Soul has long been a favorite song of mine, and of many members of Vocal Point. The message resonates deeply, and for some reason has connected with us on a personal level.”
The man who wrote the words, Horatio Spafford, was a successful lawyer who had invested a great deal of his wealth in the Chicago area that suffered extensive damage because of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, leaving him financially ruined. Prior to these events, the Spaffords had lost a son at the age of two.
In 1873, Horatio had planned to travel to Europe with his wife and four daughters aboard the SS Ville du Havre. However, due to a sudden economic downturn, his business ventures were upturned once again, causing a change in plans. He decided to send his family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire, promising to reunite with them as soon as his business affairs were complete.
Sadly, on the voyage across the Atlantic, the ship collided with another sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and sank rapidly. All four of Horatio’s daughters died in the tragedy. His wife Anna survived and was saved by a passing boat. Sorrowfully, she sent her husband the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …” Shortly after receiving the telegram, as he was traveling to meet his grieving wife, he asked the captain of the ship to inform him when they were over the exact place where the ship carrying his family had perished at sea. When the ship arrived at the place, the captain informed Horatio and brought him to the deck. Through tears, Horatio took a deep breath and returned to his cabin. There, alone in his cabin, he was inspired to write these words: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”
The members of BYU Vocal Point created a video sharing this moving story. McKay Crockett continues, “The melody, like the story behind the song, is captivating. It’s constructed so well, and almost in parallel to the story. It starts low and pensive. It grows as the verse progresses, remembering that as we keep Christ close to our hearts, whatever our lot, all will be well. We hope people feel the joy that comes living by faith as they listen to our rendition of this sacred song.”