In 1871, the tragedy that was to become known as “The Great Chicago Fire” virtually destroyed the city. Horatio G. Spafford was an attorney in the city who had extensive investments in real …
In 1871, the tragedy that was to become known as “The Great Chicago Fire” virtually destroyed the city. Horatio G. Spafford was an attorney in the city who had extensive investments in real estate. He lost a fortune as a result of the fire. That same year, his only son died from scarlet fever at four years of age.
Two years later, still aching from the losses, Spafford decided to take a trip to Europe with his wife and four daughters. He booked passage on the famous luxury ship, the Ville de Harve. At the last minute, an important business matter required Horatio to be in New York. He decided to send his wife and daughters on to Europe promising to join them as soon as possible.
In the early hours of November 22, 1873, while gliding smoothly through the waters of the Atlantic, the Ville de Harve collided with an iron sailing vessel. Within two hours, the ship sank beneath the waves. Only 47 survived the shipwreck; 226 perished. Among those who died were the four daughters of Horatio Spafford. Mrs. Spafford survived. The rescued survivors were taken to Cardiff, Wales. When she arrived, she immediately cabled her husband a message: “Saved alone.”
Spafford quickly started the journey to join his wife. One night on the passage, the ship’s captain said to him, “We are passing over the location where the Ville de Harve went down.” He went to his cabin but was unable to sleep. He prayed, “It is well; the will of God be done.” He soon wrote the words to the wonderful hymn, “It is Well with My Soul.”
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.
Whatever you are dealing with today, God’s grace is sufficient for you!
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