Horatio Spafford was a wealthy attorney who lived in the Chicago area. His wife Anna and he had four daughters: 12-year-old Anna, 7-year-old Maggie, 4-year-old Bessie, and 18-month-old Tanetta. All was truly well in their lives; however, in 1871, there was a fire that killed 300 people and destroyed 17,000 structures including some that were owned by the Spafford family. Soon after, there was a financial crisis that affected the Spafford family. Soon after this, Anna and the four Spafford daughters took a ship for a family vacation to the United Kingdom. Horatio was planning on following them so he could take part in a revival service in the United Kingdom.
The girls set sail on the ship S.S. Ville de Havre, and soon after, it broke in half and sank. Right before the ship sank, Anna gathered the girls together and prayed that God would save them or make them willing to die. She survived and was rescued; however, their four daughters died. Anna sent a telegraph to Horatio that said “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Horatio was devastated and took the next ship to join his wife overseas. During the trip when they were over the area that the S.S. Ville de Havre sank, the captain pulled Horatio aside. Horatio knew his children were with Jesus, and he was able to say “It is well.” That inspired the song “It Is Well With My Soul.”
Our scripture readings today remind us to be still and remember that God will take care of us; these scriptures truly remind us that we can say it is well–even if things are not.