Horatio Spafford wrote one of the most well known songs of the Christian Church - "It Is Well With My Soul."
My wife and I spent two weeks in late December camping along California's Central Coast - at Pismo Beach. We would take walks down to the beach and gaze out over the ocean. Big storms out over the Pacific sent large waves crashing ashore. In the evenings we were cozily nestled away in our motor home each night listening to the pounding surf. Every time we go to Pismo, we attend a different church...this time we went to "New Life Church" where the highlight of the service was when the song leader/pianist told the story behind the song, It Is Well With My Soul.
Horatio Spafford pictured here - Author of
"It is Well With My Soul"
Horatio Spafford was a successful Chicago attorney, abolitionist and devout Christian serving as an elder in the Presbyterian church. He and his wife, Anna were the proud parents of five children - four daughters and a son. As life often twists and turns, so it did in the lives of the Spaffords. In 1870 four year old Horatio Jr. took ill and passed away. It was a devestating blow but life goes on. Later that same year Horatio made some heavy real estate investments along Chicago's Lake Michigan waterfront. Then, in 1871 the Great Chicago fire wiped out those investments.
Anna's health was declining and the family decided that a trip to Europe would be beneficial, so their plans were made. At the last moment, Horatio had some urgent business come up, so rather than disappoint the rest of the family he decided to let them go on ahead and he'd rejoin them in Europe a few days later.
A few days out of port the ship his wife and four daughters were on collided with another vessel and sank. Horatio was already on another ship following when the telegram arrived. The message was the ship his family was on sunk, his four daughters were lost. His wife had rescued out of the sea, unconscious - but alive. As Horatio's ship crossed over the spot where his daughters were lost, and the ship had sunk, the Captain informed him.
If you would like to read more detail about the Horatio Spafford, his triumphs through tragedy and the song, please read Jane Winsteads wonderful article.