I wanted to end by recalling the story of a man named Horatio Spafford. In 1873, he and his family of 4 kids decided to go to London from New York to join the evangelistic movement in England. At the last minute, Horatio was delayed but sent his family by boat anyway. On November 2nd, the ship Horatio’s family was in sank – his wife survived, but all four of his children died. Upon hearing the terrible news, he boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. During his voyage, the captain called him over and told him that this it was at about this point in the journey where his children perished. Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of one of the greatest Christian hymns ever written. It’s called It is Well with my soul:
When peace like a river attendeth my way;
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, God has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Now this is usually where most preachers who use this story stop. Cos years later Horatio and his wife have another 4 children. All of them die in the first 4 years of their life. Although Horatio continued to preach the gospel, his wife seems to have gone mad with grief, had an affair and started her own cult religion. Yet the song continues:
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
Pain and suffering in this world are very real. And God hates it, he hates it so much that he sent his Son to defeat that horrible enemy, death. He hates it, and he will put an end to it. He will come again one day to Judge. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour that will be a terrible day of judgement. But if you are a follower of Jesus you will pray to hasten that day, as you cling to the love of God, you will beg him to speed the day of Christ’s return.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my 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.
Until Christ returns. Amen.