For those who don’t know the story of Horatio Spafford, the man who wrote the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” The words came to him while staring in to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean where his 4 daughters had drowned when the ship they were on with their mother collided with another. The mother was saved alone.
Unfortunately the tragedy didn’t begin there. Before this Horatio had already lost his only son through a terrible battle with an illness, and then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the family’s financial security.
Hoping to allow his family (now wife and daughters) to heal and have rest Horatio sent them on ahead across the Atlantic for a trip when the terrible crash occurred. And did you know that at the end of his life Horatio Spafford went insane. One can almost understand why.
I found it interesting to learn that in the original manuscript Horatio penned the 1st verse 3rd line “whatever my lot Thou has taught me to KNOW…” Since that first writing the line has been changed to say “whatever my lot Thou has taught me to SAY…” I don’t know for sure but I wonder if at that specific moment Horatio couldn’t really “say” out loud “it is well with my soul” but if instead he was simply putting feet to his belief and trusting in the fact that one day God would make it well with his soul.
There are times in life when saying what you know is true seems almost impossible. It’s just too hard to admit that God is good and in control at the moment. Fine, don’t say it. But can you at least acknowledge the truth that one day God will bring you to the place where you can again say “it is well with my soul.”
The last verse ends with the phrase “even so… it is well with my soul.” Did you know that refers to the 2nd to last verse in the Bible that says “even so come Lord Jesus come.” Horatio may have fully believed and known that his 5 children were already with Jesus. Is it any wonder his desire was to hurry the 2nd coming?
The life of Horatio is one example of many where we don’t have all the answers and we don’t understand why did this have to happen. His story shows that all too often life is just hard. BUT his story also illustrates an important truth that in the midst of the pain we must all learn to hold on to – there is a God who’s mercies are new every morning and who’s faithfulness never ends.