Friday, September 10, 2010

Peace in My Soul

Sinkign of the Ville du HavreHoratio G. Spafford, a forty-three-year-old Chicago businessman, suffered financial disaster in the Great Chicago fire of 1871.  Having lost in a fire virtually everything they owned, the Spafford family made new plans, including a trip from Chicago to Europe. Knowing that their friend, evangelist Dwight L. Moody, was going to be preaching in England that fall Spafford planned to take his entire family to England in November 1873.
Due to unexpected last minute business developments Spafford had to stay in Chicago. But he sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on a huge ship, the SS Ville Du Havre.  He planned to join them a few days later. In spite of much careful preparation, Mr. Spafford's plans suddenly dissolved on the night of November 22 when the ship carrying his loved ones was rammed by another vessel and sank within twelve minutes. Two hundred and twenty-six lives were lost including his four beloved daughters.  Several days later the survivors finally landed at Cardiff, Wales and Mrs. Spafford sent a cable message to her husband with the words, “Saved alone.”
Spafford soon left by ship to join his grieving wife.  As they were crossing the Atlantic, the captain pointed out the place where he thought the Ville Du Havre had gone down.  That night Horatio Spafford sat down and penned the words:
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.
Anyone  who has ever had their plans disrupted by the hand of God can understand Spafford's plight.  But what I notice about this hymn is that the author did not simply focus on his own grief and sorrow.  No, the hymn focuses on the redemptive work of Christ and the glory of His coming again.
How could Spafford have such calm in his spirit, such peace in his soul?  He knew the Prince of Peace!
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,    (Rom 5:1 NKJV)
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”    (John 14:27 NKJV)
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.    (2 Th 3:16 NKJV)
Have you experienced that kind of peace?


  1. I love to hear "The Rest Of The Story." Knowing what motivates men and women of God gives a much deeper meaning and appreciation for their contribution to honoring the name of Christ. What a heart wrenching story, yet one that gives hope to those in crisis.

  2. "It Is Well With My Soul" has always been a favorite of mine. Knowing the story just adds to the beauty of this hymn. It has been my comfort through many trials of my own.


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