«For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ» ( l Thessalonians 5:9).
The death of his only son due to scarlet fever was a tragic episode that Horatio had to deal with. A few months later, a bad financial transaction caused this prestigious Chicago lawyer to lose a great deal of money. He had not yet recovered from these calamities when the Great Chicago Fire took place in 1871, destroying about 6 km²(2.3 sq mi) of the city during three intense days leaving his house literally in ruins. After two years, he wanted a well-deserved vacation with his family, so he organized a trip to England where he was to meet his friend, the famous minister Dwight Moody. But a last minute obligation made his wife and daughters of two, five, nine and eleven years old take the ship Ville du Havre, a few days before him. While the steamship was crossing the Atlantic on November 22, 1873, it crashed into an English vessel, causing the death of 226 people, including his four daughters: With deep peace, his wife Anna broke the sad news to him in a moving telegram which read: «SAVED ALONE.» After a few days, Horatio took the same route over the Atlantic Ocean in order to meet his wife. While sailing over the location of the shipwreck, it is said that Horatio went down to his cabin to write the well-known hymn It Is Well with My Soul. Since that moment, he preached about the hope of Christ’s return, developing a ministry among the poor of Jerusalem in Israel.
How is it possible to find peace and salvation in the midst of such terrible trials? Is it possible that self-control made him obtain salvation on his own merits? Is it possible that enduring the affection with bravery made him worthy of it? Not at all.
The answer can be found in the verses of the hymn that he wrote:
When peace, like a river, attended my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with m soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ bath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, It is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford obtained salvation when he held on to God in the midst of the pain and embraced Christ as his personal Savior. You can also obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.