I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.
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.
These words are the first verse of the well-known him, "It Is Well," Written by Horatio Spafford back in the 1800's. The words by themselves are beautiful and challenging; they remind us that no matter what happens, we have peace in Christ. But when you know the story behind these words, they mean so much more.
Horatio Spafford lived in Chicago with his wife, Anna, and their four daughters. One year, the Spaffords decided to vacation to Europe, but right before they were to set sail, Horatio had to take care of some business. He told Anna to take the four daughters and go ahead of him. He would leave a few days later and meet them in Europe. So Anna and the girls boarded the SS Ville du Havre and began the journey across the ocean. Along the way, the SS Ville du Havre was struck by another ship and it sank very quickly killing many people. Anna Spafford survived, but all four daughters drowned. Anna sent a telegram to her husband that read, "Saved alone."
Horatio made arrangement to get on a ship and bring his wife back to Chicago. As he sailed, the captain came at one point to tell him they were going over the location were the SS Ville Havre had sunk. As Horatio looked across the water, he was inspired to write the words to "It Is Well."
When our hearts belong to Jesus, peace is always there for us. We know that no matter what happens, good or bad, nothing can take Jesus or Heaven from us. Horatio Spafford knew his girls were in Heaven and that gave him great peace.
Jesus is not still in the tomb - He is alive! He is in Heaven with the Father. That should give you unspeakable peace!
Action point: If you have a hymnal, look up the rest of the verses to "It Is Well." If you don't have one, go ahead and look them up online. Talk about what those words must have meant to the Spaffords. What areas do you need peace in right now? Can you feel God's peace with you? Pray together to openly receive this gift Jesus left with us.