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This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford's life.
The first was the death of his son at the age of two and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871,
which ruined him financially. His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873,
at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead.
While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the
now famous telegram,
Saved alone.... Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write the words to
It Is Well With My Soul as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.
The Paradoxical Commandments
People are often unreasonable, illogical,
Love and forgive them anyway.
If you do good, people may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and the biggest ideas
can be shot down by the smallest men
and the smallest ideas;
Think big anyway.
People pretend to love the little people
but sell their souls to the big people;
Fight for the little people anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
People really need help but may
attack you if you help them;
Help them anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
- by Dr. Kent M. Keith -
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