by Tammy Phillips
January 23, 2020
Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. (Psalms 146:1 KJV)
As a reminder, I originally wrote these devotions to encourage my sister in Christ whose son passed, way too early. She inspired today’s devotional with the picture above and with a corresponding text, “It is well with my soul.” Here is the amazing story behind that song.
Horatio Gates Spattford was a prominent Chicago lawyer and businessman. He wrote, “It Is Well With My Soul” in 1873. This hymn was written after 3 major traumas in Spafford’s life. His 4year old son died of Scarlett fever in 1871. Then the great Chicago Fire of October 1871, burned his real estate investments which ruined him financially. Shortly after, while crossing the Atlantic on November 22, 1873 to vacation, all four of Spafford’s daughters died in a collision with another ship. Spafford’s wife. Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone.” Several weeks later, he sailed to join her. As Spafford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daughters died, the Holy Spirit inspired the words of the song. They speak to the eternal hope that all believers have, no matter what pain and grief befall them on earth.
Spattford and Anna, his wife, had a consistent history of acting on their faith. After the great Chicago fire of 1871, and their loss, they devoted countless hours to helping the survivors. After the ordeal at sea, Anna and Horatio Spafford left their Presbyterian congregation and hosted prayer meetings in their home. Their study was dubbed “the Overcomers” by the American press. In 1881, they moved to Jerusalem (taking two daughters born after the shipwreck tragedy) and helped found a group called the American Colony; its mission was to serve the poor. The colony later became the subject of the Nobel prize winning, Jerusalem, by Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf.
Like you, his wife was conscious of a soft voice speaking to her, “You were saved for a purpose!”
Like you, my strong and mighty sister, Mr. Spattford could have been overwhelmed with grief, pain and the tragedies of his life. BUT GOD!!!
Like you, he chose faith.
Like you, he chose life.
Like you, instead of being overwhelmed, he chose to be an OVERCOMER. His story and faith reflect yours.
Look what he did. He did not fear. He kept stepping. And, I can hear him saying:
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20 KJV)
Out of his extreme pain, he went on to be a blessing to many during his life, and ultimately, generations of people. He wrote a beautiful song that enCOURAGEd you 146 years later. Like him, I believe God will use you for great things too, as your mission has always been to bless others.
I enCOURAGE you to keep the faith. Keep believing. Keep saying. Keep singing: “It is well with my soul.”
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2 NKJV)
“It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.” -Anna Spattford