Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Ps. 30:5)

NO DANGER SEEMED IMMINENT as H. G. Spafford kissed his wife and four daughters good-bye. They left Chicago in 1873 to visit relatives in Europe. The French steamer, the Ville du Havre, on which his family eventually set sail, collided in the mid-Atlantic with a large sailing ship. The steamer sank within thirty minutes. Nearly everyone perished. Before the ship sank, Mrs. Spafford and her daughters had been in prayer. A lifeboat rescued her, but she never saw her children again.

Ten days later, arriving in Cardiff, Wales, she cabled her husband in Chicago with the brief message, “Saved alone.” Spafford immediately set sail for England to comfort his wife. Evangelist Dwight L. Moody and his music director, Ira Sankey, who were in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the time, traveled to London to comfort their good friends. They found Mr. and Mrs. Spafford strong in faith, able to say through their tears, “It is well.”

In 1876, three years after the tragedy, Mr. Spafford wrote the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” in memory of his four daughters. He gave thanks that they were safe in the hands of a loving God.

Even in his loss, H. G. Spafford was thankful that there is a concerned God who overcomes death and hears prayers.

Where you find sorrow today, pray for God’s peace, assurance, and comfort.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who served in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and his wife, Patty, live in Louisville, Kentucky.