Posted by Matt Redman on 7 August 2015

In 1873 a lawyer called Horatio Spafford experienced an almost unbearable tragedy. The ship that his wife and four daughters were on sank, and every one of his children died. Sailing across the Atlantic to join his wife, Spafford wrote It Is Well With My Soul.

Like so many people down the years I’ve always loved the hymn, and it’s obvious that it comes from a deep place. I wasn’t intending to rewrite it, but I started thinking about it when Beth and I were working on a song that touched on some similar themes.

We were writing about the fact that sometimes our scars are a sign of God’s grace in our lives, a sign that we’ve been through something. Scars are a mark of our healing, a sign that we’re not where we were.

Our wounds may have been deep and the night may have been dark, but the promise of God's love has been proved in our lives. When we look back we see providence and protection, even the ways that God has made us fruitful in the land of our suffering.

That last idea comes from a verse in the story of Joseph where he calls his second son Ephraim, ‘because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering’ (Genesis 41:52).

That’s definitely true in my story. I can look back and see how God made something beautiful grow out of things that were difficult and painful. Not that everything has a silver lining, but the truth for those that trust God is that nothing is wasted. Even in the darkest times it’s possible to know that God has not left us. Like Joseph said, the things that were meant for harm, ‘God used for good.’

Beth and I were writing this in a song and it struck me that it would fit perfectly - in terms of tempo, key and theme - with Spafford’s hymn. So I went for it, out of huge respect for the original, and the hope that it will be a blessing.

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