Horatio and Anna Spafford led an inspiring life of testimony Horatio was a lawyer who lived in Chicago with his wife Anna and 5 children.
In 1870 their faith was tested when their only son, age 4, died of scarlet fever. They then lose their entire savings and real estate investment due to the Great Chicago fire the following year.
Two years later, due to Anna’s health issues, Horatio decided to take his family to Europe for a vacation, but on the day of their departure, he was held by last-minute business appointment and he sent his wife and daughters as scheduled, promising to follow in a few days.
To his devastation, the ship his wife and daughter boarded into sank in the middle of the Atlantic. His daughters lost their lives but his wife was saved. In the midst of his deep sorrow, Horatio sought the Lord, and it was then he was inspired to write this well-known hymn – It is well with my soul. “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.”
God then gave the Spafford 3 more children, but their son died at age 4 of scarlet fever, just like his brother before him. Christian friends started to say the Spaffords must have had great sins and God was punishing them. Due to the constant oppression from their church, the Spafford immigrated to Israel and they started a work serving the needy, helping the poor, caring for the sick, taking in homeless children.
Horatio spent seven wonderful years helping to establish the ministry in Jerusalem, and then died of malaria in 1888, just before his 60th birthday. Anna served there for over 30 years, continuing to show the love of Jesus to all around her.
If you find yourselves in great sorrow, remember to sing the song in your heart: it is well with my soul.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...
- Jenni Wang