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Wednesday Words of Wisdom 9/22/2021

Peace. What does that word mean to you? I struggled with peace last week because I let a paper dictate my emotions. Rather than "giving it to God", I floundered my way through, believing I could handle things myself. After several sleepless nights, I gave in and let God have control. To no surprise, I found peace.


The prophet Isaiah wrote concerning Jerusalem, "Behold, I extend peace to her like a river" (New American Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 66:5). One of my favorite songs is "It Is Well With My Soul." It begins with the lyrics, "When peace, like a river, attendeth my soul." A beautiful story reveals the depth of love for God by the author. It is as follows:


When the great Chicago fire consumed the Windy City in 1871, Horatio G. Spafford, an attorney heavily invested in real estate, lost a fortune. About that time, his only son, age four, succumbed to scarlet fever. Horatio drowned his grief in work, pouring himself into rebuilding the city and assisting the one hundred thousand who had been left homeless.


In November of 1873, he decided to take his wife and daughters to Europe. Horatio was close to D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey, and he wanted to visit their evangelistic meetings in England, then enjoy a vacation.


When an urgent matter detained Horatio in New York, he decided to send his wife, Anna, and their four daughters, Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie, on ahead. As he saw them settled into a cabin aboard the luxurious French liner Ville du Havre, an unease filled his mind, and he moved them to a room closer to the bow of the ship. Then he said goodbye, promising to join them soon.


During the small hours of November 22, 1873, as the Ville du Havre glided over smooth seas, the passengers were jolted from their bunks. The ship had collided with an iron sailing vessel, and water poured in like Niagara. The Ville du Havre tilted dangerously. Screams, prayers, and oaths merged into a nightmare of unmeasured terror. Passengers clung to posts, tumbled through darkness, and were swept away by powerful currents of icy ocean. Loved ones fell from each other's grasp and disappeared into foaming blackness. Within two hours, the mighty ship vanished beneath the waters. The 226 fatalities included Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie. Mrs. Spafford was found nearly unconscious, clinging to a piece of the wreckage. When the forty-seven survivors landed in Cardiff, Wales, she cabled her husband: "Saved Alone."


Horatio immediately booked passage to join his wife. En route, on a cold December night, the captain called him aside and said, "I believe we are now passing over the place where the Ville du Havre went down." Spafford went to his cabin, but found it hard to sleep. He said to himself, "It is well; the will of God be done."


He later wrote his famous hymn based on those words.


If Mr. Spafford could find peace after such a horrific loss, I should be able to find peace in knowing God is guiding me, even when writing a research paper. My prayer for you this week is that you find peace that only God can provide.


Until next week,


Blessings


Michael Edlridge is a contemporary Christian acappella singer. He masterfully records himself singing four-part harmony. He offers a breathtaking video of "It is Well, With my Soul." Mr. Eldridge has granted permission to use his works in my research. You may find many songs on his YouTube channel.



Acapeldridge. (n.d.). https://acapeldridge.com/


Acapeldridge. (2017, November 10). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYrL9ea1XUg


Morgan, R. J. (2011). Then Sings My Soul. Book 3., p. 188-198. Thomas Nelson



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