The famous hymn ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ is like many of the hymns, written amidst tragic circumstances. Horatio Spafford who wrote this hymn illustrates the power of trusting God and carrying an eternal perspective. He wrote this following a family tragedy in which four of his daughters died. This video illustrates his story.
Horatio and Anna his wife.
Like Job he faced many trials including losing his oldest son to sickness and then much of his investment in real estate was lost in the Chicago Fires of 1871.
Two years later he decided to take his family to England for a holiday and to watch his friend D.L Moody preach. He ended up staying back, because of business, and sent his family ahead.
While crossing the Atlantic the steamship Ville du Havre collided with another vessel and 226 people lost their lives, including his four daughters. Anna, his wife was found unconscious on a plank of wood and was rescued by the other vessel.
The account on Wikipedia writes…
Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford beginning “Saved alone. What should I do?”
After receiving Anna’s telegram, Horatio immediately left Chicago to bring his wife home. On the Atlantic crossing, the captain of his ship called Horatio to his cabin to tell him that they were passing over the spot where his four daughters had perished. He wrote to Rachel, his wife’s half-sister, “On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs”. Horatio later wrote the famous hymn “It Is Well with My Soul“, commemorating his daughters. Philip Bliss, who composed the music for the hymn, called his tune Ville du Havre, after the name of the stricken vessel