Horatio Spafford was a successful attorney in Chicago, active in church, and blessed with a wife and four daughters. A series of calamities began when the great Chicago fire of 1871 wiped out his family’s extensive real estate investments. Even through the tough times Spafford held firm to his belief and faith in God. Spafford was a friend and supporter of the great evangelist D.L. Moody. When Moody began a campaign in Great Britain; Spafford planned to join them to assist. Seeing this as a wonderful opportunity for the whole family, passage was booked on the S.S. Ville du Harve in November of 1873.
Before he could leave, he was detained by urgent business. He sent his family ahead and planned to join them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the ship carrying his wife and daughters was struck by an English vessel and sank in twelve minutes. Two hundred and twenty-six people drowned, including his four daughters. Only his wife miraculously survived.
Heartbroken, Spafford boarded another ship to meet his bereaved wife. Upon reaching the approximate sight of the shipwreck, he stood on the deck of his ship. Sensing God’s presence and unexplained peace, he wrote these words. “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 with my soul.”
How can one write, “It is well with my soul”, when tragedy has just struck?
Only through God. Only God can make us “well with our soul” in the midst of tragedy and turmoil.
Peace is found through a soul perspective, looking beyond today to the forever. When God is our focus, our direction, and our love, there is nothing on earth that can shake, or remove our eternal stability.
It is well with my soul because … In peace I lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, makes me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).
It is well with my soul because even when doors seem locked Jesus comes and says, “Peace to you!” (John 20:26)
It is well with my soul because the fruit of righteousness is peace; the effect of righteousness is quietness and confidence forever (Isaiah 32:17).
It is well with my soul because You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on You, because they trust You (Isaiah 26:3)
It is well with my soul because the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10).
It is well with my soul because Jesus promises that in Him we have peace. In the world we have tribulation, but we can take courage; because He has overcome the world (John 16:33)
Heavenly Father thank You that no matter what difficulties are suffering comes, that in You we can always find peace.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” ~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)
River photos by Lisa Buffaloe