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“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15, NKJV).

The following is excerpted and condensed from the website I hope you find it encouraging.

On the 15th of November 1873, the luxurious passenger ship,

Ville Du Havre, left Chicago for Europe with 313 passengers

and crew aboard. She carried with her, Horatio Spafford’s wife

Anna, their four daughters, Annie (11), Margaret (9), Elizabeth

(5), Tanetta (2), as well as Mademoiselle Nicolet, who was a

friend of Anna’s and a governess for the girls, Willie Culver, a

12 year old boy who was being sent to visit his grandparents

in Germany, and Mrs. Goodwin, friend and neighbor to the

family, with her three children. Horatio Spafford planned this

trip hoping it would be a blessing to the health of his dear wife

Anna. The Spaffords had encountered great hardships in the

years prior. Horatio, a successful lawyer, professor, business

man and layman at his church, had invested in a large amount

of real estate in Chicago just before the Great Chicago fire in

October of 1871. Aside from the devastating loss of 300 lives,

the fire destroyed three square blocks of the city including

over 17,000 structures, as well as all of Horatio’s real estate

investments and his law office. Even amidst the massive

financial debt incurred from their loss, Horatio found a way to

give his family a holiday in Europe. Just before their trip,

opportunity arose for Horatio to sell off some of the land from

among the fire-damaged properties so he decided to stay behind and

join his family after the business was taken care of.

In the early morning hours of November 22, 1873, the Ville Du Havre

was struck head on by the Loch Earn, a Scottish iron ship. Chaos and

terror filled every corner of the sinking vessel. Anna wrote of her

experience to a friend: “The dear children were so brave. They died

praying. Annie said to Maggie and me just before we were swept

off the steamer, “Don’t be frightened, Maggie, God will take care of us,

we can trust Him; and you know, Mama, ‘The sea is His and He made it.’”

These were her last words. Maggie and Bessie prayed very sweetly.”

The Ville Du Havre went down just 12 minutes after the terrible crash.

Only 87 souls survived, taking refuge on the damaged Loch

Earn and subsequently on the Trimountain, which carried most

of the survivors to Cardiff, Wales. As soon as she was able,

Anna sent a telegram to her husband saying, “Saved alone.

What shall I do,” and told of the the loss of the children, Mrs. Goodwin,

and Willie Culver, saying she would go with Rev. Lorriaux to Paris.

Both singer and hymn writer Ira D. Sankey along with revivalist

and pastor Dwight L. Moody, came to comfort the Spaffords in the

wake of the tragedy. On one of his visits several years after the event,

Ira Sankey recalled Horatio taking pen to paper to write the lines

of “It is Well With My Soul.” (end quote)

It is certainly a beloved song for many, and I find it even more encouraging knowing that

it was born out of such tragedy. There is much more to the Spafford’s story and my questions

about some of the things they taught, but regardless, this stands as one of the great American hymns.

Christianity is not a Pollyanna religion; it deals with all aspects of life. Our God is God on

the mountaintops and in the deepest valleys of despair. This is seen in the quote from

Job above. Despite such intense suffering, Job knew God was ultimately in control and

ultimately to be trusted in all things. No matter the difficulties in your life today, know that

you can trust your Heavenly Father that by trusting in Him, all can be well with your soul.

It is part of His provision for His children. May God bless us with such faith.

—John Ostic

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