My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

We love a hymn at Saar Fellowship, and we love a contemporary rendition. Hymns are (usually) so rich and full of strong, robust theology, and more often than not sing worship to God rather than sing about ourselves. Today, My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.

Originally written by Edward Mote in 1834, it has been covered by a few people, maybe most well known of which are Hillsong Worship and the Norton Hall Band. 

The main chorus, or refrain, was (so I read) written to convey the truth of 1 Corinthians 10.4,

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Scripture abounds when talking about Christ as our rock, the Cornerstone on which we stand, 1 Peter 2.4-6, Psalm 118.21-23, Isaiah 28.16, Matthew 21.41-43, Matthew 7.24-27 to name but a few.

Our world is always changing, our individual worlds are always changing, but in Christ we have a solid, sure, steadfast Cornerstone on which to stand, on which to build, and on which to lean. Our hope for the future is truly built on nothing else than the shed blood of Jesus for us, and we dare not stand, build, or lean on anything else.

Today, no matter what is going on, let us keep this front and centre in our minds,

On Christ the solid rock I stand,

all other ground is sinking sand.

It Is Well With My Soul

Scripture references – Psalm 42.1–11, 103.1–22, Romans 8.31–39

Horatio Spafford was born in New York in 1828, and God blessed him and his wife with five children and considerable wealth. Horatio was a lawyer and owned property. 

In 1870 his then four year old son died of scarlet fever, and a year later much of his property was lost to fire. Two years after that in 1873, tragedy struck again. Whilst crossing the Atlantic on their way to England, their ship was struck by another vessel and sank. Horatio was delayed due to business, but his wife and four daughters were aboard. His wife, Anna, survived and cabled her husband which included the phrase “saved alone”. All four of his daughters died. 

Horatio dropped everything and set off for England to be with his wife, and whilst on the journey the captain told him they were passing over the very spot where that fateful ship had sunk. Horatio returned to his cabin and wrote ‘It Is Well With My Soul’. 

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 has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for 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

His life had further ups and downs, and Horatio died in 1888 of malaria. He entered into the rest of his Saviour and was laid to rest in Jerusalem, where he had been caring for the sick, poor, and orphaned with Anna.

If Horatio Spafford can experience such peace and comfort in a time of such horrible, gut-wrenching loss, then so can we. It was well with his soul, as he wrote, because he knew that in his own words,

“We passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep.

But I do not think out dear ones there…

they were safe…dear lambs…”

This wonderful hymn encourages us to praise our gracious God no matter what the circumstances, for, as Paul writes to the Romans, I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.