November 21, 1873 was a day Horatio G. Spafford could not have imagined would be his last with his four daughters on this earth. Aboard a French Ocean liner in the Atlantic, his daughters sank to the depths with their mother looking on helplessly.
How unimaginablely heart wrenching.
Yet he went on to write the words of the most famous hymn…
It is Well With My Soul
I have four beautiful daughters. They are part of me in such a way that they are my breath and heartbeat all wrapped into one…. I cannot imagine.
I believe it would have taken me to depths of my being…utterly unimaginable to my heart as I write this, yet I know as much as I can’t and don’t want to imagine this…
It would be well with my soul.
“Though sorrows like sea billows roll” as the song goes on to say wouldn’t even seem enough to start to describe my heart…yet he wrote…
“It Is Well with My Soul”
He wrote those words as he passed over the spot where his daughters had drowned… in the darkest moments of his life.
Their tragedy didn’t stop there.They lost another two children to pneumonia.
To look to the only One who can carry you and sustain you in those unspeakable moments… What a choice to make.
Great Grandma and Grandpa Janz imigrated from merciless Russia in the 1920s with four of their eight sons.
Heading to the train that was to leave in the black of night, word came that the one son who was dying in hospital wanted one last moment with them before they fled the country. Grandma and Grandpa made the agonizing decision on the spot to forgo the request not wanting to put their exodus with their younger four boys in jeopardy. Grandpa lived with this decision heavy on his heart for the rest of his life but my little great-grandma held her head high on her 5 foot frame and marched forward in life knowing she had to do what she had to do in saving the rest of her family.
The losses did not end there.
Along the journey in the dead of the frigid winter, her only daughter of 8 boys died at 9 months old.. freezing to death in grips of the cruel Siberian winter.
I knew this little fiery lady till I was 7 years old. In the midst of all her humanness she not only survived through these heartaches but lived.
Holding on to the Everlasting God who mourned with her while being her mighty yet gentle everlasting arms that held her through her life’s journey.
I have experience loss in my life but nothing compared to this.
I have tasted “It Is Well with My Soul” though sorrows like sea billows roll.
Horatio spafford and my grandma and grandpa had to do more than taste to live on… they had to be immersed so deep that nothing could penetrate the peace that passes understanding as Philippians 4:7 says.
He has the Everlasting arms for all who choose him no matter how “the sea billows roll”.
I know that I know that I know.. the same everlasting arms of peace that passes understanding that held Horatio Spafford on the day his four daughters drowned and held my grandma and grandpa so many years ago as they said goodbye to their four sons in the most difficult situations, is the same God that will do the same for me and for you no matter what sea billows will roll.
Wherever our life’s journey may take us, if we choose more than to merely taste His peace that passes understanding…
it is then we will be able to say..
It is Well With My Soul