It Is Well With My Soul
Haggard and disheveled H. G. tearfully looked over the handrail on this European bound ship. His right hand securely gripped it while he made sure the other hand was free. He recalled the old rule of thumb, “One hand for the ship, one hand for yourself.” He wouldn’t allow the Atlantic to be victorious. Again. His chest rose and fell sucking in what some might consider refreshing ocean breezes, but to H. G. it was the mist of death. It was as if this beast was hissing spittle, testing his resolve. His mind languished for answers.
This wasn’t the first time H.G., with the unshakeable faith of Job, would seek the comfort of the Almighty to maintain his tenacious spirit and be victorious over the persistent plague of death and disaster.
His free hand wiped the salty water and tears from his face. He raised it to heaven in hopes of grasping the hand of God as his tormented soul recalled the tragedies that led him across this unsympathetic destroyer of his dreams. His mind wandered back a few weeks to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan and the windy city of Chicago.
Annie, his treasured wife, rested her weary head on H.G.’s shoulder as she pointed to the beach which they frequented with their five children, “Horatio, loved to bury his four sisters in that sand,” she said.
The tragic death of their two-year-old was the second fire that scorched their soul. The first was the great fire of Chicago that consumed their business and pleasant life, for which they labored so hard.
“I know Annie,” H.G. said as he turned and passionately embraced her. “Pneumonia was the gateway God used to welcome him home. One day we will, again, watch him play.”
H. G. reached into his treasure trove of God’s word and whispered into Annie’s ear, “He restores our soul and leads us beside still waters.” Annie’s tears moistened his cheek. But the worst was yet to come.
God was gracious and allowed H. G. to prosper, as a lawyer and investor in properties, again. But, like Job, Satan wanted God to remove that hedge He had around him. “Surely,” Satan thought, “H. G. would curse God.” God would oblige.
Soon the economy took a downturn, so H.G. focused his business ventures toward Europe. But he had to linger behind to settle things. He sent his wife and four daughters on ahead.
The ship, four days into its journey, struck the unbudgeable steel hull of a Scottish vessel. Annie, immediately sensing the grave danger, whisked her daughters to the deck of the ship, knelt, and pled, “Oh, Father spare us if it is Your will. Or, dear LORD, allow us to bear our fate with courage and faith.”
It only took twelve minutes to give her the answer. The giant’s insatiable hunger swallowed 266 of God’s children.
A sailor in a small boat, searching for survivors, spotted a young woman in the water. It was Annie. Alone. None of the four daughters escaped the beast. Nine days later Annie arrived in Wales, England.
Annie’s ravaged soul searched for words to notify her husband. Her trembling hand scribed almost illegible words to be wired to H.G. Her trembling hand gave the scribbled note to the messenger, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” He graciously refused the fee. Both wept.
H. G. immediately booked the next vessel heading that way. Now, four days into the journey, he stands, soul writhing in anguish, face to face with the beast that ripped his heart right out of his chest. Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder, “This is the place,” said the captain of the ship.
A shrilling sound whisked by him. Was it his daughters crying for their daddy from the depths of this bottomless graveyard, or was it the devil taunting him to lose to this tormentor of humanity?
“No!” he let out a shriek. “I will not let you be the victor.”
Fervently seeking God’s answer to this hellish taunting, H.G. took out a pen and started writing:
“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.”
Horatio Spafford was not only victorious on that day, but he left a legacy for all of us to be at peace with our soul.
Authors note: This is a slightly enhanced version of actual events. Horatio Spafford wrote the song, “It is well with my soul,” while traveling to Wales to join his grief-
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Much enjoyed reading this though it was sad. Thanks for the share. God bless you!
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