Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ And she answered, “It is well.” 2 Kings 4:26
How many Sundays do we just speak prayers, stand, or sing songs without really knowing the meaning behind them? Well one Sunday in particular as we were singing prior to the service, the keyboard player, who is legally blind, explained the hymn he was about to sing. The title of the hymn is “It is well” by Horatio Gates Spafford. I was touched by this story and haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
Horatio was a well known lawyer in Chicago. He and his wife had known true loss. They lost their only son to scarlet fever. A year later, all of his real estate properties were wiped out by the great Chicago Fire. So he decided to take his wife and four daughters to England to rest and recuperate from the losses that they incurred. As they were to leave on a ship, he was called back to work; he sent his wife and daughters ahead of him. Nine days later, he received a telegram from his wife, who was now in Whales; the text read “Saved alone”
You see the ship that his family was on, crashed with another ship and sunk in all of 12 minutes. Anna, his wife remembers her baby being ripped out of her arms by the force of the water. She was knocked unconscious but was spared by the piece of plank that lay under hear head propping it up.
After receiving word of this tragedy, Horatio travelled on a ship to meet his wife in Europe. The captain pointed out the site where to two ships had collided to Horatio as they passed. After soaking in the view of the liquid graveyard that now held his four daughters, he headed to his cabin and penned the words of the hymn.
The beautiful thing about this story is that he had the chance to really sit, in the midst of devastation and assess his soul. He did not get lost in his pity. He didn’t write up legal papers to sue the owner of the ship or whoever was responsible, he just sat and assessed his soul. And as he sits, he can honestly say, though things are out of control, though his family is torn apart, though he has experienced tremendous loss over the last few years, it was well. It was well between him and his Creator. He placed his trust in God and rested in the fact that it was well with his soul.