What are we to do when life seems impossibly difficult and full of sorrow?
Horatio Spafford was a husband and father of five living in Chicago in the 1860s. When his only son was four years old he died of scarlet fever causing him and his wife to suffer the greatest heartache a parent could ever endure. One year later the Chicago fire destroyed not only his city, but also stole all his wealth and investments. Although his home was spared by the fire his family was left without many resources, still he continued to reach out and help the hurting community around them. Several years later he and his entire family were planning a trip to Europe, but he ended up being delayed and sent his family a few days ahead of him. The boat they were aboard was shipwrecked, killing many of the passengers. Days later Horatio received a telegram from his wife, Anna saying, “Saved alone. What shall I do…”
He immediately made his way to England to be with and comfort his wife as they simultaneously grieved the loss of their four remaining children. As he made his journey he neared the exact spot where the sea had swallowed up his four daughters. It is at this point when Horatio Spafford wrote the words ‘It is well with my soul’, followed by the rest of the lyrics to this famous hymn. This was a man who truly knew what it felt to experience sorrows like sea billows roll. He knew heartache, but still continued to serve the Lord, and he and his wife even went on to serve God in Jerusalem. Whatever happened in his life we kept his eyes on Christ and knew that no matter what god is good and must be glorified.
There are some periods in your life when you swear you are the most unlucky person in the universe. Times when all that you love has been ripped away and you feel the weight of the entire world pressing down on your heart. It is at these times when we tend to seek out stories, like Horatio’s or Job’s, or others that we can relate to in times of hardship and realize that sometimes life is just difficult. The world is not meant to be perfect or easy or good. The world is broken and things suck. Life can be hard, but we must keep perspective and realize that our objective in life is to glorify God with all we do. It is in times of trouble when I best relate to the words of Horatio that whatever may happen in this life, “even so, it is well with my soul”.