Many of you might be familiar with this story, but for those of you who have not heard this before, it will be a precious one! Jesus told His disciples that real faith can move mountains. Here is the life of a person who overcame the tempests and tumults of life, with a faith akin to it.
Horatio Spafford was a devout Christian, a prominent lawyer, a wealthy businessman, and also a loving family man. He was a person who suffered great losses in his life.
The first was the death of his only son, in 1871, at the age of four, through contracting Scarlet fever. It was followed by big financial losses when ‘the great Chicago Fire’ of October 8, 1871, ruined almost everything he had invested in real estate, in the Chicago area.
In 1873, he planned a trip to England, desiring some rest for his family. But, the economic downturn of 1873, further hit his business interests, due to which he had to make a change in his plans. He sent his wife Anna and his four daughters ahead on the ship, expecting to follow in a few days, once the business problems were settled. But, a very unfortunate event took place, then. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship with his family collided with a British ship, and sank in 12 minutes. After floating in sea for hours, Anna was rescued. Arriving in Wales, she telegraphed her husband beginning with the words,
“Saved alone . . .”
This horrifying disaster took the lives of 226 passengers, including Spafford’s four daughters (Annie, 11 years old; Maggie, 9; Bessie, 7; and Tanetta, 2). Upon receiving this gruesome news, Spafford traveled to Wales to join his grieving wife. He had asked the captain of the ship on which he was sailing to notify him when they reached the area where the ship with his family had gone down. When he was told that the area was near, Spafford went down to the cabin, and penned a few moving words, which now have become a well-known hymn- “It is well with my soul”.
[ Here is a YouTube link to the hymn ]
They managed to put together their broken lives with the help of God. In 1881, the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Israel. Later, they moved to Jerusalem, and pioneered the ‘American Colony’ which still cares for more than 30,000 poor children, every year. This colony later became the subject of the Nobel prize-winning Jerusalem, written by Swedish novelist, Selma Lagerlöf.
“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
Most of us, including myself, often lose our heart when difficulties and calamities come up in our lives. We all, in our heart, knows that real faith is like that of Job’s, placing our trust in God during all the times of our lives, both in happiness and in sorrow. During these dreadful times, when ghastly events are occurring all over the world, let us all pray to God to give us such a faith, the faith which the Spaffords had, the faith which Job had, the faith which can move mountains! Remember His promises, they are always consistent, and also His love, they are the same forever!
Blog Post: Jil & Dil
April 26th, 2013