Week 3 - It is Well With My Soul

"Though wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3

As I memorized this verse yesterday, the hymn "It is Well With My Soul" came to mind. I have heard the story behind this song several times, and each time it becomes more and more real to me that we are to cling to God in the good times and bad. If we trust in God and keep our minds focused on Him, rather than what is going on around us, we will have perfect peace.

Horatio Gates Spafford was a wealthy Chicago lawyer and a close friend of DL Moody. He appeared to have everything he could ever want, but in 1870, his life took a downward turn. It was during this year that his only son died of scarlet fever. In 1871, every one of his real-estate holdings were burned down during the great Chicago fire. 

Because of the toll these disasters had taken on him family, Horatio decided to take a vacation with his family to England. It was there he was supposed to meet up with DL Moody and assist him in his evangelistic campaign. Just as his family was going to board the ship to take them to London, a last minute business development cause Horatio to stay. No wanting to delay his wife and children, he sent them on ahead of him with plans to meet them in England. Nine days later, he received a telegram from his wife which read, "Saved alone."

On November 2, 1873, the ship his wife and children were on sank in under 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Horatio's wife's last memory before becoming unconscious was of her infant daughter being ripped from her arms by the force of the water. Their 4 daughters drowned during that terrible disaster.

Horatio boarded the next ship to meet his grieving wife. As the ship he was on passed the spot where his children were claimed by the sea, the captain informed him of the location. Immediately, he went back to his cabin and penned these 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."

Only a man who is stayed on God could have that perfect peace in such a trying time.

"It is easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God."


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