Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Part of Our Ladies Meeting

Our speaker last night was our Youth Pastor’s wife.  She gave us examples of being overwhelmed in our lives.  She had some examples of her own, we thought of some of our own.  Then she told us of this man’s experiences.

Not only a successful attorney, Horatio and his wife Anna were followers of the evangelist Dwight L. Moody.  In 1870 their four-year old son died of scarlet fever.  In 1871 his extensive real estate holdings along Lake Michigan were destroyed in the Chicago fire.  In 1873 Moody was headed for England on an evangelical mission and requested help.  The Spafford family, not only needing time away, but ready to be of help, planned on traveling with him.

Ready to sail from New York, their plans were interrupted by business requiring Horatio’s presence in Chicago.  Anna and their four daughters sailed for England without him.  He left for England only after receiving her wire from Wales, “Saved alone.”  A collision with another ship cost 226 lives, including their daughters. 

During the Atlantic crossing, the ship’s captain brought to Horatio’s attention the spot where the ships were lost.  Spafford returned to his cabin and wrote a hymn that we sing across the world today.

Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. (2 Kings 4:26 KJV)

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, 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.

On a peaceful river, we can easily say “It is well.”  When sorrows overwhelm as sea billows, can we say it as well?

The Shunnamite woman ran to Elisha and was able to tell his servant, “It is well,” though she needed to plead for the son Elisha had prophesied and she bore.  In her grief, Anna Spafford recalled the words of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God."

The Spafford’s were certainly not.  By 1881 they were headed to Jerusalem to set up The American Colony.  Joined by others, Colony members engaged in philanthropic work in Jerusalem regardless of religious affiliation of those they helped.  Horatio Spafford died of Malaria in 1888 and was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, Jerusalem. Anna continued their work until her death in 1923.  A hotel in East Jerusalem bears the Colony’s name.

When you sing this song in a congregation of your choosing, determine for yourself, is it well with your soul?


  1. I just love that hymnal and history behind it. Yes...It is well with my soul. God bless, Lloyd

  2. Hi Grammy Blick -

    I had heard about Spafford. Every time I read or hear about his story, it deeply moves me.

    That song is so penetrating and comforting.

    Thank you for sharing.


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