Horatio Spafford had every right to grieve. No one would have batted an eye if he cried out at God when his only son died at four years old from scarlet fever. Then just a few years later, as properties rose in Chicago and business was booming, this intelligent man bough properties and planned to cushion his family in wealth and comfort for the rest of their days. But it was all stolen away from them in the Great Chicago fire of 1871. I would have been angry at God. No one could have faulted him no for raging against the creator. But this was only the beginning.
Two years later, with another child now in the home, another sweet girl to bounce on her daddy’s lap, that family decided that a vacation to England was in order. Horatio had some work to do so he sent the others on ahead. But he did not receive glad tidings on their landings. Instead, just a short telegram from his wife with two words: Survived alone.
The ship she and the girls were sailing on had collided with another out in the sea, and all four of their girls perished under the water. Five children had been lost. All of their fortune had literally gone up in flames. Surely now they would turn their backs on God. Now they would rip their clothes and curse his name. Now, with nothing left but each other, they would leave the church and all those with it.
Only they didn’t. As Horatio crossed the ocean to meet his wife, while passing over the spot where his girls had died, he offered to God these words: