Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Faith That Inspires: Horatio Spafford

This is the true story of the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul". I got it from the Cedarville website . It is a truly inspiring tale...

"It Is Well With My Soul"

"Go on ahead, dears. I will be right behind you and will see you in a few days. Safe journeys. I love you."

Those were the last words Horatio Spafford said to his four, dear daughters. In November of 1873, only 2 short years after the Chicago Fire of 1871 where Mr. Spafford lost a great amount of investment in real estate, the Spaffords planned a relaxing trip to Europe. This was a much needed event and the whole family was looking forward to it. They were all packed to go and ready to leave for England when some unexpected business came up that Mr. Spafford had to take care of. Mr. Spafford, not wanting his family to lose valuable vacation time, sent his wife and four daughters to Europe without him. He was to arrive only a few short days later.

The girls were having so much fun on the S.S. Ville Du Havre. They had never sailed before and were so excited to travel to a foreign land, but they missed their daddy. "Mama, how much longer until we see Daddy?" little Liza would ask her mother.

"He will be arriving a few days after we do, my dear," Mrs. Spafford would assure her little ones.

"I can’t wait to be in England, Mama! We will have such a sweet time together as one big happy family," Liza ended.

That very night, November 22, 1873, something terrible and unexpected happened. The S.S. Ville du Havre – the Spafford’s ship – was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel. It sank in 12 minutes. Only Mrs. Spafford survived. She, along with all the other survivors, were shipped and landed in Cardiff, Wales. There, Mrs. Spafford sent a cable to her husband that simply said, "Saved Alone."

On his way to meet his griefstricken wife, Mr. Spafford wrote what has become one of the most beloved hymns of all time. It is said that he began to write the words just as his ship passed the area where his daughters had drowned only a short time earlier. In his grief and on the ocean itself he wrote the words, "When sorrows like sea billows roll. . ." As he arrived to meet his beloved wife, he shared with her the words he had just written in memory of his loved ones and in honor of the One who carried him through.

"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."

Even in times of the most horrible grief, we can learn from people like Mr. Horatio Spafford that all is not lost. There is hope. For if a man who lost all his children, could immediately say to the Lord, "It is well with my soul," could we not wake up each morning saying the same thing no matter what our situation? Sometimes we complain too much. Sometimes we whine and think we’ll never make it. But, cheer up! We can make it! Jesus Christ has come that we can have life eternally with Him and His Father in heaven someday. What greater hope is there? What better reason to say, "It is well with my soul" and smile all the day long!

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Oh geez..there are 3 stories in the whole world that make me tear up every time...the story of Jesus, the ending of "It's a Wonderful Life", and the story of Spafford. It's such a good one.