Taken from The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero ©2008
Week 5 / Day 2 - Midday/Evening Office
Scripture Reading: Psalm 22:1–5
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
In the 1870s Horatio Spafford was a successful Chicago lawyer and a close friend of evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Spafford had invested heavily in real estate, but the Chicago fire of 1871 wiped out his holdings. His son had died shortly before the disaster. Spafford and his family desperately needed a rest, so in 1873 he planned a trip to Europe with his wife, Anna, and their four daughters. Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to return to work. Not wanting to ruin the family holiday, Spafford persuaded his family to go as planned, and intended to catch up with them later.
With this decided, Spafford returned to Chicago, and Anna and the four daughters sailed to Europe. Unfortunately, their ship collided with an English vessel and sank in only twelve minutes. The accident claimed the lives of 226 people. Anna Spafford had stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters (Annie, Maggie, Bessie, and Tanetta) desperately clinging to her. Her last memory of the disaster is that of her baby being violently torn from her arms by the force of the waters. Just nine days later, Spafford received a telegram from his wife in Wales. It read: “Saved alone.” When Horatio Spafford made the ocean crossing to meet his grieving wife, he sailed near the place where his four daughters had sunk to the ocean’s depths. There, in the midst of his sorrow, he wrote “It Is Well with My Soul.” The words of Staffords’s hymn have brought comfort to so many in grief:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea-billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blessed assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
Question to Consider
What about Spafford and his relationship with Christ moves you the most?
Father, I can only bow to you before such unimaginable loss and suffering. I join with Spafford and pray to you: “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.” In your Son’s name, Amen.