The enduring words of the song “It Is Well With My Soul” were originally penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford back in the 1800’s.
They were inspired by some amazingly tragic events in Spafford’s own life.
Chief among these was the death of his young son at the age of only 2. As if that weren’t enough, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 later engulfed much of the property Spafford owned, virtually destroying him financially.
Not long after, a ship carrying Spafford’s wife and daughters collided with another seafaring vessel, and sank. All four daughters drowned, with only his wife, Anna, surviving.
Spafford’s resilient and reassuring words echo forward to 2018 — a pointed reminder that abiding apprehension and unbearable anguish are often part of the human condition.
But they’re also encouragement, perhaps, that holding faith in our hearts can frequently help to carry us through.
As our present world experiences nearly overwhelming levels of uncertainty and unrest, it may seem that reassuring words are in fairly short supply.
Maybe that’s why beloved songstress Reba McEntire recently moved a cheering crowd to cathartic tears of hope.
McEntire performed at the 48th Annual GMA Dove Awards. Since 1970, this popular recognition ceremony has celebrated the abundant musical diversity of rock, pop, country, rap, hip-hop, southern gospel, bluegrass, inspirational worship, and more.
Simply enough, the song McEntire chose to sing was “Back to God.” Randy Houser originally co-wrote this soaring country rock ballad with Dallas Davidson for his debut album, “Anything Goes.”
McEntire covered the tune on her 2017 gospel collection “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope.”
In a news release at the time, she said, “I’ve been asked a lot lately about why now was the right time to release this song.”
“I think it is always the right time to give it back to Him,” she explained, “because we seem to mess things up on our own.
“We all need to just love each other more unconditionally, without judgment, because we can’t do this on our own.”
Perhaps this is why McEntire’s soul-stirring rendition resonated so powerfully with the Dove Awards audience — and with listeners all around the world.
McEntire’s words and heart are good reminders as we head into 2018: our hurting world seems to need this moving message more than ever.
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