Many years ago just after the civil war, there was a lawyer who lived in the Michigan area. He had five children and loved God with all his heart. He was an extremely intelligent man and was friends with good men such at Dwight L. Moody. This man was a lawyer for doctors and was well loved. One day his little boy became gravely ill and had an infection that could not be treated. The little boy died. His father and mother were so sad over losing their precious little boy. But life goes on.
A few months later this man purchased a strip of properties along Lake Michigan. He intended to transform these buildings into housing and one in particular into a YMCA for his friend Mr. Moody. While making plans, a fire broke out along the water and completely destroyed all of the buildings on the property that this man owned. Feeling so discouraged and broken he sought out his good friend Phil who asked how he was doing and suggested that he take his family to Europe where Mr. Moody was in evangelistic work. This friend thought that he could use a get a way and would like to work with Mr. Moody. So the man made plans with his wife and four daughters to sail to Europe.
The night before they were to sail a knock came at the door and one of the city officials was there. He told this man that he would need to come to a meeting about the property that had been burned. The man explained that he and his family were to set sail the next day. The city official told him that if he didn't show up in two days to the meeting he would possibly lose his land. So he had no choice but to stay behind while his family went ahead to Europe.
While sailing the next day to Europe, there was a great fog that came up on the water; so bad that they could not see where they were going or anything in the way. Fog horns began to sound and bells began to blow as the great ship came into collision course with another ship. They could not avoid each other and the ships collided. It only took twelve minutes for the ship to sink. Most of the passengers were saved but this man's children were all lost at sea. Only his wife was saved.
When the man heard that his family, save his wife, was gone he bowed his head and wept. Why could this have happened? First his little boy, then his property and now his four beautiful daughters. How heavy this mans heart was. He made plans to sail to Europe to join his devastated wife. The grief that this couple shared could only be imagined. How their hearts were broke.
While aboard ship he asked the steward to please let him know when they reached the place where the first ship had gone down. When they reached that spot this man went to the top deck and stood by the rail weeping in agony over the loss of his dear children. It was then that God gently reminded him that He too had lost his Son Jesus. He whispered to this mans heart of the grief that He bore as He watched His Son die on the cross at the hands of cruel men. He then gently reminded this man that He was the peace giver.
Thus, Horatio G. Spafford wrote the beautiful words that we all know so well, It Is Well With My Soul. He sent them back to his friend in Michigan who put the words to music and it will forever be a great hymn of the church.
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.
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet,
though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded
My helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood
for my soul.
My sin--Oh the bliss of this
My sin--not in part
but the whole.
Is nailed to His cross
And I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
O my soul.
And, Lord, haste the day
when the faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back
as a scroll.
The trump shall resound
and the Lord shall descend
Even so--it is well with my soul.