HH’s favorite hymn has origins from tragic events. I recently read the account of how Horatio G. Spafford came to the point of writing the hymn It Is Well With My Soul. It’s a faith story, and there’s a beautiful lesson in it.
As an attorney who was heavily invested in Chicago real estate, Horatio lost a fortune in the great Chicago fire of 1871. About that time, his only son died of Scarlet fever at four years old. Through his grief, Horatio poured himself into rebuilding the city and helping thousands left homeless by the fire.
Horatio was close friends with D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey. He planned a trip for November of 1873 to their evangelic meetings in England, a trip which would combine a family vacation in the journey. At the time to set sail, Horatio was delayed by a business matter. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead, planning to join them soon.
During the journey, the ship (Ville du Havre) that carried Anna Spafford and the girls collided with an iron sailing vessel. Within two hours, the ship sank. Anna and 46 others survived, when 226 passengers did not. Anna sent a cable to Horatio saying she had survived alone without the girls.
Can you even imagine it?
Horatio set sail immediately to join Anna. While underway, the ship’s captain joined Horatio on deck one evening to say he believed they were over the very spot the Ville du Havre had gone down.
Naturally, Horatio had trouble going to sleep that night. Unnaturally, he spoke these words to himself, “It is well; the will of God be done.”
Mr. Spafford later wrote this hymn based on those words. (The melody was written by Philip Bliss, who soon after died along with his wife in a train wreck in Ohio.) Get a tissue and brace yourself for a true blessing.
Horatio was faced with many hard trials within a span of a couple of years. How many of us would have the faith Horatio Spafford had to write this hymn in his circumstances?
I praise God for the example of Mr. Spafford! How many of us needed to hear this hymn today?
Do you know someone who is on a difficult faith journey? Bless them with this faith hymn today. Share Horatio’s song and story with them.
Let’s celebrate our God who brings us through all adversity!
He is faithful and true on this spectacular Sunday and every day.