Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise

I love this old hymn. Although the story behind it is heart-breaking, the truth of the words has stood the test of time. I've sung this song many times at church, at memorial services and when I needed the reminder that it really is well with my soul.

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family - a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in eighteen-seventy-one, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

In November of eighteen seventy-three, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with three hundred thirteen passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately twelve minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it two hundred twenty six of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, 'God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.'

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trumpet shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 
Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August eighteen-eighty-one, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding,
shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7.

Song: 'It Is Well With My Soul'
Written by Horatio G. Spafford

You can hear a beautiful rendition of this song here.

When the world seems upside-down, what a comfort to know that it is well with my soul!
 
With A Grateful Heart,
Adrienne

1 comment:

  1. Love this song. I have heard that story many times and though it is heartbreaking it surely beings us HOPE. Without Hope, people will perish. Thank you for sharing. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    ReplyDelete

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