Horatio G. Spafford
 
It Is Well With My Soul

  Horatio G. Spafford was known as a sincere, devout Christian. He was the father of four daughters, an active member of the Presbyterian church, and a loyal friend and supporter of D. L. Moody and other evangelical leaders of his day.

In November 1873, Spafford decided to take his entire family to Europe for a vacation, intending also to assist Moody in his evangelistic work once he arrived there. However, Spafford was unexpectedly detained in Chicago due to urgent business concerns, but decided to send his family aboard the S.S. Ville du Harve as scheduled. Midway through the trans-Atlantic voyage, S.S. Ville du Harve was struck by the English vessel Loch Earn and eventually foundered. Spafford's four daughters—Anna, eleven; Maggie, nine; Bessie, seven; and Tanetta, two—were among the 226 who perished in the aftermath. Mrs. Spafford, one of the few who were spared, sent her husband the heartbreaking telegram: “Saved alone.”

Spafford immediately sailed for England to join his grief-stricken wife. As his ship passed the approximate location where his daughters had drowned, his deep sorrow mingled with his unwavering faith in God's goodness caused him to compose the following hymn.
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!”

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
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”

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live;
If dark hours about me shall roll
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
Probably very few, like Spafford, are able to maintain their faith in the face of such devastating bereavement without spiritually faltering. The natural tendency of one confronted with such senseless tragedy would surely be to question, to doubt, to blame, to accuse God. Yet this hymn reveals a person who had been graced by God to mourn without bitterness, to sorrow without anger, to trust without resentment, to rest in the peace of Christ which surpasses every man's understanding (Phil. 4:6). The remarkable faith exhibited by the author of this hymn is the same precious faith allotted to all the believers (2 Peter 1:1) which enables them to believe steadfastly as the author did, that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).