How To Say, “It is well with my soul,” When Sorrows, Like Sea Billows, Roll.

We went to the beach this past week. It was all the things! It was beautiful. It was fun! It brought back memories of walking with Alan, of watching him throw the frisbee with our children and swim out to the reef for shells. I can still see the top of his head bobbing out in the water as he searched and searched for sand dollars! I had asked the Lord to speak to each of us personally that week and was a little disappointed when I came home without some special encouragement from the Lord.

As I gazed out upon the waves, day after day ,I was struck by it’s awesome beauty and power, but the only words that kept coming to my mind, were these. ” When sorrows like sea billows roll”.  When I continued the words to that song in my head they were, ” Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well with my soul!” Friends, I remember so many times these last few years when I sang those words, not in a congregation but ALONE, and didn’t feel them! It seemed with every wave I witnessed this week walking on the sand, I couldn’t just enjoy the beauty of it, rather I was reminded of the waves of sorrow that have come one on top of another.

I noticed something else this past week. I watched the sea gulls, how they would fly a particular direction and the wind, that always blows so hard by the ocean, would push them a different direction. They didn’t seem to fight these blowing winds. Rather, it seemed they gave into them and allowed them to lift them up and soar. They weren’t cast down to the ground, or overcome by the wind, and they continued to fly, no doubt getting where they needed to go, but it was the surrender I couldn’t get out of my mind. The words that came to my mind while I witnessed this sight over and over were, ” Though satan should buffet”, comforting huh? 

Lord, how do reminders of sorrow and satan buffeting me, help me out? How do they draw me closer to you? How can it be well with my soul amidst all this? I can sing it Lord, and I know I don’t have to feel it, but I need to KNOW it, deep in my soul even when the feelings are absent!

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 

He has regarded us! He sees us! He knows our fragile state of being. He is with us! The world would tell us beloved that we need immediate answers, immediate delivery, immediate victory. The Lord knows I want that desperately so many times! But His word, His precious word, tells us that He sees us , He knows us, He has shed His blood for us and if we would surrender, not to the stormy winds that buffet us, but to our loving Savior then He will lift us up on wings that soar!

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”(Is 40:31)

As I was finishing up my Bible study this morning, the Lord brought this old hymn to my mind and I was thankful. So thankful, not just for his shed blood and hope of eternity with my Savior and my beloved husband.  I was thankful that He loves us enough to leave the Comforter with us! That he would dwell in us, speak truth to us and lift us up! This was the Comforter’s reminder,

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.

So back to  the title of this post, “How to Say ‘It is Well With My Soul,’ When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll.” Press deep into His word beloved. Let Him remind you that He has this! No, we may not be seeing that or even feeling that right now! But He does! He will order and provide. He will remain faithful! Surrender your heart to the lover of your soul, though satan should buffet, though sorrows like sea billows roll, we are only able to say “It is well with my soul” because it is! 

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:29) That is what I am choosing to rest in beloved! The Father has us, holds us and no-one can take us from him!


*Quotes from:It Is Well with My Soul/Horatio G. Stafford 1873;

Be Still, My Soul/Catharina von Schlegel 1752

8 Replies to “How To Say, “It is well with my soul,” When Sorrows, Like Sea Billows, Roll.”

  1. Tara, I love this whole post, but the end especially blessed me. Lately I’ve been clinging to John 10:29 for my loved ones who once walked with God but are now running from Him.

    1. Jana, Thank you for sharing that with me. I will pray that verse on their behalf as well! It is a comforting thing to know that no-one can take us from Him!

      1. This is the best, I felt the best sombrance of relief. I felt soaked and reassured of a great life offered by my savior.

        1. I am glad it blessed you.

  2. Thanks, Tara, for this beautiful reminder. Certainly as the waves of grief hit (and they do), leaning into them makes navigating easier. On a trip to Israel a few years ago, our group got to visit the home of Horatio Spafford. It was chilling as our group sang this magnificent hymn — quite breath-taking to sing those precious words … and know full well their meaning.

    1. Wow Terri! That must have been quite an experience. There is something about suffering yourself that makes viewing others suffering so poignant. I know the Lord uses that. Thank you for all the ways you give of your precious heart to relieve others suffering. Love you!

  3. Jodie Reilender says: Reply

    Thank you Tara for your encouragement and honesty. I sang ‘It is Well” in church Wed and it has never meant more to me than know. I seen another post about the song days later and now yours. I know God is really wanting me to get it, that even in my deepest heartache, my peace comes only from God. That He is enough even with out my husband. Be Still my soul was my theme song, I had it written on my mirror and my daughter sang it at my husbands funeral and now it is written on the back of his memorial bench. Thank you for your words. I am not a writer or blogger, but love how you can express yourself through words.

    1. Thank you for sharing with me Jodie! I am so thankful the Father meets us where we are and desires to show us fully how He can make it, ” Well with our soul!” He is so faithful and your heart is precious to Him! May he continue to comfort you and give you peace!

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