Horatio Spafford was a Presbyterian layman from Chicago and was a successful lawyer and businessman. Humanly speaking, this man had everything going for him. He loved the Lord and was happily married with five beautiful children. However, things were about to take a drastic and sudden turn, in a series of events reminiscent of the life of Job. Spafford had heavily invested in real estate along Lake Michigan’s shoreline but in the great Chicago Fire of 1871, he tragically lost everything! If that wasn’t bad enough, shortly before this, he lost his only son to scarlet fever at the tender age of four. With a grieving wife, Horatio Spafford decided to send her and their four daughters across to England where he planned imminently to join them. In 1873, his family boarded the S.S Ville du Havre and set sail for England; but as the ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean, tragedy struck when the ship collided with another sea vessel. Within just 12 minutes the ship had sunk taking the lives of 226 of her passengers. When survivors finally reached dry land, Horatio Spafford received a telegram from Cardiff, Wales. It was from his precious wife Anna; the first two words read; “Saved alone...”. As Horatio journeyed to meet his grieving wife, the captain, aware of the tragedy, invited Spafford to join him in the cockpit, pointing out to him the location where he believed the ship had sunk. With this, Horatio rushed off to his room where he penned the words to a poem by the name of “Ville du Havre”. We know the name of that poem today as the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”.
So many I find are content to serve the Lord and to speak well in good times when the wind is blowing in a favourable direction. But woe if that wind should suddenly change course; as changes the wind so changes their speech. It is here perhaps most of us all, where the Lord wants to try the substance and quality of our hearts. Will we still be a people of one voice speaking the same things out of season as in season? Can we say in the midst of trial, it is well with my soul?