Horatio G. Spafford lived with his wife and four daughters in Chicago. He was a lawyer by profession and a devout and sincere Christian.
One day in 1873, he stood on the quayside of Chicago and bid his family farewell as they set sail to visit relatives in far off Europe. Unknown to him, that would be the last time he would set his eyes on them.
Some days later their ship bound for Le Havre in France collided with another steamship in Mid-Atlantic, and sank almost immediately.
Before it did so, however, Mrs Spafford was able to have a prayer with her children and commit them to the mercy of the Lord. That was the last time she woulde see them live.
Fortunately, a lifeboat spotted Mrs Spafford and she was rescued. When she arrived in Britain, with the rest of the survivors, she sent her husband this terse, but telling message: “SAVED ALONE’.
The words struck Horatio Sprafford with full force, and, understandably, plunged him into deep sorrow. He left for England, without delay, to comfort jis griefing wife.
The great American Evangelist D.L Moody and his associate singer, Ira D. Sankey, were conducting a campaign in Edinburgh at the time. They were personal friends of the Spaffords and came down to London to give whatever help and comfort they could. They found their friends in surprisingly good spirits, strong in faith and able to say through their tears, ‘It is well; the will of god be done.’
Three years after that tragedy, Mr. Spafford wrote his hymn It is well with My Soul, in memory of his four precious daughters. Happily each of them had personally recieved Jesus Christ as Saviour before embarking on that fateful voyage.
It would be very difficult for any of us to predict how we would react under circumstances similar to those experienced by the Spaffords. But we do know that the God who sustained them would also be with us.
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.
Though Satan should buffet, though trails should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood fro my soul!
It is well…… with my soul
It is well, it is well, with my soul