Este Bine cu Sufletul Meu – istoria furtunoasa din spatele acestui puternic imn crestin

Click to READ THIS ARTICLE in the ENGLISH LANGUAGE here – The story behind the tempestuous song: It is well with my soul

Photo wikipedia

Horatio G. Spafford. (Traducere Agnus Dei)

La sfarsitul anilor 1860 viata a fost buna pentru Horatio G. Spafford si sotia lui Anna. Ei locuiau intr-o suburbie din partea de nord a orasului Chicago, impreuna cu cei cinci copii ai lor: Annie, Maggie, Bessie, Tanetta si Horatio Jr. El era un avocat proeminet in orasul Chicago. Usa casei lor era totdeauna deschisa pentru activisti si era locul unde se intalneau in timpul miscarilor de reforma din acea vreme. El era foarte activ in miscarea abolitionista. Spafford a fost un crestin dedicat si servea ca diacon la o biserica  Presbiteriana. Lideri evanghelisti printre care si Dwight L. Moody, au fost adesea musafirii lor.

Pana atunci, Horatio si Anna Spafford traiau o viata ca-n povesti. Totul mergea in favoarea lor. Totusi, in 1890, credinta lor a incercata de tragedie. Baiatul lor de patru ani, Horatio Jr., a murit de scarlatina. Ei au fost foarte devastati. In Octombrie 1871 cand a izbucnit Marele Foc din Chicago, Horatio a fost din nou foarte greu incercat. Cu cateva luni inainte de izbucnirea Marelui Foc din Chicago, Spafford fiind un om instarit, si-a investit aproape toata averea in case imobiliare de pe malul Lacului Michigan. Nu numai ca focul a distrus cea mai mare parte a orasului Chicxago, dar si aproape toate proprietatile ia care au investit sotii Sparrow au fost distruse. 250 de oameni au murit in Marele Foc din Chicago si 90 000 au ramas fara case.

Sotii Spafford insa nu au cazut in disper. Casa in care locuiau nu a fost distrusa, si isi avea familia. Dumnezeu a fost bun. Cu toate ca sursele financiare le-au fost in mare parte epuizate, Anna si Horatio au folosit resursele pe care le mai aveau ca sa hraneasca pe cei flamanzi, sa ajute pe cei fara adapost, sa ingrijeasca pe cei bolnavi si raniti si sa mangaie pe vecinii care erau loviti de durere. Marele Foc din Chicago a fost  o mare tragedie americana; Sotii Spafford au folosit-o ca sa arate dragostea lui Christos celora in nevoi.

In anul 1873 sanatatea lui Anna Spaford a inceput sa se inrautateasca si cu speranta de a  pune la o parte pierderea tragica a copilului lor si focul, si ca sa aduca un beneficiu sanatatii Annei, ei si-au  pus in plan o calatorie in Europa. Ei aveau de gand sa se urce la bordul unui vapor cu abur numit Ville du Havre, spre Europa, impreuna cu cele patru fiice ale lor. Spafford nu numai ca a vrut sa viziteze Europa, dar el a vrut totodata sa-l asiste pe Evanghelistul Dwight L. Moody si pe Ira  D. Sankey, in evanghelizarea de trezire spirituala pe care o efectuau in Anglia.

photo credit blog.praisesong.net

Ei si-au planificat sa plece in calatoria lor spre Europa in luna noiembrie. Asa cum uneori se intampla, Dumnezeu a avut alte planuri pentru Horatio G. Spafford. In ziua cand ei trebuiau sa navigheze inspre Europa, Spafford a avut o afacere de urgenta si nu a putut placa. Nevrand sa-si dezamageasca sotia Anna si pe cele patru fiice ale sale, el le-a trimis pe acest vapor, si el si-a pus in plan sa mearga cu un alt vapor cateva zile mai tarziu. Impreuna cu Anna Spafford a fost si gurvernanta ei, frantuzoaica Emma Lorriaux, mai multi prieteni si lucratori evanghelici.

In data de 22 noiembrie 1873, vaporul cu abur Ville du Havre a fost lovit de un vas britanic din fier, cu numele de Lockhearn. Vaporul cu abur Ville du Havre, la bordul caruia era Anna Spafford impreuna cu cele trei fete a ei, s-a scufundat in 12 minute in mijlocul Atlanticului. Numai 81 din cei 307 de pasageri si membri ai echipajului au supavietuit acest naufragiu tragic.

Telegrama prin care Ana la informat pe sotul ei ca e singura care a supravietuit naufragiul – Photo credit www.ideafountain.ca

Cu toate ca si vasul Lockhearn a fost in pericol de scufundare Anna Spafford care a cazut inconstienta, a fost ridicata dintre ramasitele care pluteau de echipajul de pe vasul Lockhearn. Un vas american de transport de marfuri cu numele de Trimountain, a ajuns la timp ca sa salveze pe cei ce-au spravietuit acest naufragiu. Annba a fost luata si dusa la Cardiff, Tara Galilor, de unde a trimis un telegraf sotului ei Horatio. Mesajul Annei a fost scurt si sfasietor: „Singura salvata. Ce sa fac…” Fiicele lui Anna si Horatio s-au inecat. Imediat dupa ce  a primit telegrama de la Anna, Horatio a plecat degraba sa-si duca sotia acasa. Navigand peste Oceanul Atlantic, capitanul vaporului la chemat pe Horatio pe punte. El l-a informat pe Horatio ca: „Sa facut o investigatie amanuntita si cred ca acum trecem peste locul in care Ville du Havre a fost naufragiat. Apa are 3 mile adancime.” In acea noapte, singur in cabina sa, Horatio G, Spafford a scris cuvintele acestui imn faimos al sau „Este Bine cu Sufletul Meu”.  Credinta lui Horatio in Dumnezeu niciodata nu s-a clatinat.

Dupa reunirea in Europa, Horatio impreuna cu sotia sa Anna s-au reantors in Chicago pentru a-si incepe viata din nou. Dumnezeu i-a binecuvantat cu trei copii. Au avut un fiu in anul 1876, pe care l-au numit din nou „Horatio”. L-au numit asa nu pentru tatal sau ci pentru fiul pe care l-au pierdut. In anul 1878, s-a nascut fiica lor Bertha. Tragic, cand micutul Horatio  a implinit varsta de 4 ani, la fel ca si fratele sau, a murit de scarlatina. In anul 1880 Anna si Horatio au mai avut o fiica pe care au numit-o Grace. Dupa pierderea micutului Horatio ei s-au hotarat sa paraseasca casa lor din America si sa se stabileasca in Ierusalim. Asa ca in septembrie 1881 familia Spafford impreuna cu cativa prieteni de-ai lor au parasit America pentru Israel.

Cantarea si o mica naratiune de John Piper la mijlocul video-ului

Cantarea, cu slideshow de poze despre familia Spafford

 

It is well with my soul – the tempestuous story behind the powerful hymn

Photo credit Wikipedia

STORY from the Christian Post

If you have ever wondered what sequence of events inspired the lyrics of the timeless Christian hymn „It is Well” by writer Horatio Spafford, theologian John Piper unveils the tempestuous story behind it during a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the song on Jimmy Needham’s new album „The Hymn Sessions.”

In a video performance of the song posted on Vimeo, Piper reveals the devastating tragedy that inspired the powerful song in the late-1800s.

„In 1871 the great Chicago fire virtually ruined Horatio Spafford. It was almost the biggest trial of his life but not the biggest,” began Piper at the 3-minute mark in the video.

„Two years later, 1873, he puts his wife and his four daughters on a ship to sail for England and the ship runs into another ship and sinks very quickly, and all four girls died and his wife barely escapes. He hears about the accident and he receives a telegram from his wife: ‘Saved. Alone,'” he noted.

„He (Spafford) gets on a ship and heads to be with his grieving wife and as he passes over the part of the ocean where the girls went down and were at the bottom, he wrote, ‘when peace like a river attendeth my way or sorrows like sea billows roll,'” continued Piper.

He then explained why Spafford was able to say it was still well with his soul even after enduring such a tragedy.

„And you can hear the point ‘where sorrows like sea billows roll whatever my lot you have taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.’ So the question is how could it be well?” asked Piper.

„He knew Christ loved him. He saw it in the cross. And when he gets to the end, he has Christ coming back with a great triumph not to judge him but to save him and to raise his daughters from the dead so ‘it is well with my soul,'” said Piper.

„No song quite gets it in terms of its cadence, its tune and especially its words. It doesn’t get any better than sorrowful yet always rejoicing through ‘it is well, it is well’ with my soul,” he ended.

John Piper starts to narrate at the 3:00 minute mark-

Horatio Spafford

via Wikipedia

Horatio Gates Spafford (October 20, 1828, Troy, New York – October 16, 1888, Jerusalem) was a prominent Americanlawyer, best known for penning the Christian hymn It Is Well With My Soul, following a family tragedy in which four of his daughters died. 

Son of Gazetteer author Horatio Gates Spafford and Elizabeth Clark Hewitt Spafford, he married Anna Larsen of Stavanger, Norway on September 5, 1861, in Chicago. The Spaffords were well known in 1860s Chicago. He was a prominent lawyer, a senior partner in a large and thriving law firm.He and his wife were also prominent supporters and close friends of evangelist Dwight L. Moody. A series of family tragedies began in 1870 when their only son died from scarlet fever at the age of four.

Spafford invested in real estate north of an expanding Chicago in the spring of 1871. When the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes in October of that same year, it also destroyed most of Spafford’s sizable investment.

Photo credit blog.praisesong.net

The wreck of the Ville Du Havre

Two years later, in 1873, Spafford decided his family should take a holiday somewhere in Europe, and chose England knowing that his friend D. L. Moody would be preaching there in the fall. He was delayed because of business, so he sent his family ahead: his wife and their four children, daughters eleven-year-old Anna “Annie”, nine-year-old Margaret Lee, five-year-old Elizabeth “Bessie”, and two-year-old Tanetta.

On November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and 226 people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. Anna Spafford survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford beginning „Saved alone.”[6] Spafford then sailed to England, going over the location of his daughters’ deaths. According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote „It Is Well with My Soul” on this journey.

A slideshow of Stafford’s life and trials set to his song

It Is Well with My Soul lyrics

The original manuscript has only four verses, but Spafford’s daughter states how later another verse (the fourth in order below) was added and the last line of the original was slightly modified. The music, written by Philip Bliss, was named after the ship on which Spafford’s daughters died, Ville du Havre.

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.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
(Refrain)

And Lord haste the day, when the 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.
(Refrain)

Later years

Following the sinking of the Ville du Havre, Anna gave birth to three more children. On February 11, 1880, their son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died at the age of four, of scarlet fever. Their daughters were Bertha Hedges Spafford (born March 24, 1878) and Grace Spafford (born January 18, 1881). Their Presbyterian church regarded their tragedy as divine punishment. In response, the Spaffords formed their own Messianic sect, dubbed „the Overcomers” by American press. In August 1881, the Spaffords set out for Jerusalem as a party of thirteen adults and three children and set up the American Colony. Colony members, later joined by Swedish Christians, engaged in philanthropic work amongst the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and withoutproselytizing motives—thereby gaining the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. During and immediately after World War I, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through the great suffering and deprivations of the eastern front by running soup kitchens, hospitals,orphanages and other charitable ventures.

Four days shy of his 60th birthday, Spafford died on October 16, 1888, of malaria, and was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, Jerusalem.

The telegram Stafford’s wife, Ana, sent to inform him of the death by drowning of their 4 daughters on a ship bound for England. Photo credit www.ideafountain.ca

Here is a more detailed biography, from Yahoo voices:

Horatio G. Spafford:
The Story Behind the Hymn „It is Well with My Soul”

In the late 1860s life was good for Horatio G. Spafford and his wife Anna. They were living in a north side suburb of Chicago with their five children, Annie, Maggie, Bessie, Tanetta and Horatio, Jr. He had a successful law practice in Chicago. The doors of the Spaffords’ home were always open as a place for activists to meet during the reform movements of the time. Horatio G. Spafford was quite active in the abolitionist movement. Frances E. Willard, president of the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union as well as evangelical leaders like Dwight L. Moody were often guests in their home. Spafford was a Presbyterian church elder and a dedicated Christian.

Until now Horatio and Anna Spafford had led a charmed life. They had everything going their way. However, in 1870 their faith was tested by tragedy. Their four year old son, Horatio, Jr., died of scarlet fever. The Spaffords were devastated. In October of 1871 when the Great Chicago Fire broke out Horatio faced another test of his faith. A few months before the Great Chicago Fire, Spafford being a wealthy man, had invested much of his wealth in real estate by the shore of Lake Michigan. Not only did the Great Chicago Fire destroy most of Chicago but most of Spafford’s holdings were destroyed. 250 people died in the Great Chicago Fire and 90,000 were left homeless.

The Spaffords did not despair. Their home had been spared and they had their family. God had been good. Even though their finances were mostly depleted, Anna and Horatio used what resources they had left to feed the hungry, help the homeless, care for the sick and injured and comfort their grief stricken neighbors. The Great Chicago Fire was a great American tragedy; the Spaffords used it to show the love of the Christ to those in need.

In 1873 Anna Spafford’s health was failing and hoping to put behind the tragic loss of their son and the fire and to benefit Anna’s health, the Spaffords planned a trip to Europe. They would sail on the French steamer Ville du Havre to Europe with their four daughters. Spafford not only wanted to visit Europe but he wanted to assist Evangelists Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey in a revival they were conducting in England.

Moody and Sankey had met at a convention of the Young Men’s Christian Association in Indianapolis in 1870. After hearing Sankey sing, Moody at once invited him to come to Chicago and assist him in his evangelist work there. Ira D. Sankey considered Moody’s invitation and after much thought and prayer, decided to accept. Six months later he joined Moody in Chicago.

Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey were in the middle of a revival meeting when the Great Chicago Fire broke out in 1871. Moody and Sankey barely escaped Chicago with their lives. It is said that Sankey was on a row boat a long distance out in Lake Michigan where he watched as Chicago burned. With most of Chicago having been destroyed, Moody and Sankey decided to accept an invitation to visit England. In 1873 Moody and Sankey started a work in England. Moody and Sankey made such a profound impression in England their names became household words all over Europe.

The Spaffords planed to leave in November on their voyage to Europe. As sometimes happens, God had other plans for Horatio G. Spafford. The day they were to sail for Europe Spafford had a business emergency and could not leave. Not wanting to disappoint his wife Anna and their daughters he sent them on ahead and planned to follow on another ship in a few days. Accompanying Anna Spafford were her French governess, Emma Lorriaux, several friends and several ministers.

On November 22, 1873 the steamer Ville du Havre was struck by a British iron sailing ship, the Lockhearn. The steamer Ville du Havre, with Anna Spafford and her daughters aboard, sank within twelve minutes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Only 81 of the 307 passengers and crew members survived this tragic shipwreck.

Even though the Lockhearn was in danger of sinking the unconscious Anna Spafford was picked up from floating debris by the crew of the Lockhearn. An American cargo sailing vessel, the Trimountain, arrived in time to save the survivors of the Ville du Havre and the Lockhearn. Anna Spafford was taken to Cardiff, Wales where she telegraphed her husband Horatio. Anna’s cable was brief and heartbreaking, „Saved alone. What shall I do…” Horatio and Anna’s four daughters had drowned. As soon as he received Anna’s telegram, Horatio left Chicago without delay to bring his wife home. Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean the captain of the ship called Horatio to the bridge. He informed Horatio that „A careful reckoning has been made and I believe we are now passing the place where the Ville du Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep.” That night, alone in his cabin Horatio G. Spafford penned the words to his famous hymn, „It Is Well With My Soul.” Horatio’s faith in God never faltered. He later wrote Anna’s half-sister, „On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs.”

The following account is taken from the Christian History Institute.

„Anna Spafford later spoke of being sucked violently downward. Baby Tanetta was torn from her arms by a collision with some heavy debris, with a blow so violent that Anna’s arm was severely bruised. She flailed at the water trying to catch her baby. Anna caught Tanetta’s gown for just a moment before another smashing blow tore the little girl out of her arms forever. Reaching out again, all she could find was a man’s leg in corduroy trousers. Anna, barely conscious, was then swirled about in a whirlpool before surfacing near the Loch Earn. She instinctively clung on to a small plank and the next thing she recalled was the splash of an oar as she lay at the bottom of a small boat. Bruised and sick, her long hair was matted with salt and her dressing gown shredded. But the pain in her body was nothing compared to the pain in her heart as she realized that her four daughters had been lost in the disaster. A young male passenger, afloat on a piece of wood, came upon Maggie and Annie, the two oldest Spafford children. At his direction, each girl grasped one of his side pockets as he tried to find a board large enough to support all three of them. After about 30 or 40 minutes in the water, he found a piece of wreckage and struggled to help the two young girls climb atop the board. But as he watched, their weary arms weakened, and he saw their eyes close. Their lifeless forms floated away from his own fatigue-paralyzed arms. No clues ever surfaced about the fate of little Bessie.”

After Anna was rescued, Pastor Nathaniel Weiss, one of the ministers traveling with Anna and Horatio’s group remembered hearing Anna say, „God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.” Anna was utterly devastated. Many of the survivors watched Anna closely, fearing she may try to take her life. In her grief and despair, Anna heard a soft voice speaking to her, „You were saved for a purpose!” It was then Anna remembered something a friend had once said, „It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.”

Following their reunion in Europe, Horatio and Anna returned to Chicago to begin their lives again. God blessed Anna and Horatio with three children. They had a son in 1876, again called „Horatio.” Not so much for his father but for their lost son. In 1878 their daughter Bertha was born. Tragically, when little Horatio reached the age of 4 just as his brother before him, he died from scarlet fever. In 1880 Anna and Horatio had another daughter they called Grace. After the loss of little Horatio, the Spaffords decided to leave their home in America and settle in Jerusalem. In September of 1881 the Spaffords and a few of their friends left America for Israel.

The group settled in the old part of Jerusalem and started a work which later became known as the „American Colony.” There they served the needy, helped the poor, cared for the sick and took in homeless children. Their only cause was to show those living about them the love of Jesus. Swedish novelist Selma Ottiliana Lovisa Lagerlõf wrote of this colony of Christians in her two volume Nobel Prize winning work „Jerusalem.”

A Christian historian wrote of Anna and Horatio: „Moved by a series of profound tragic losses, Chicago natives Anna and Horatio Spafford led a small American contingent in 1881 to Jerusalem to form a Christian utopian society known as the ‘American Colony.'”

Bertha Spafford Vester, wrote the following in her book „Our Jerusalem.”

„In Chicago, Father searched his life for explanation. Until now, it had flowed gently as a river. Spiritual peace and worldly security had sustained his early years, his family life and his home……. All around him people were asking the unvoiced question; ‘What guilt had brought this sweeping tragedy to Anna and Hoaratio Spafford?’…. Father became convinced that God was kind and that he would see his children again in heaven. This thought calmed his heart, but it was to bring Father into open conflict with what was then the Christian world…. To Father, this was a passing through the „valley of the shadow of death,” but his faith came through triumphant and strong. On the high seas, near the place where his children perished, he wrote the hymn that was to give comfort to so many:”

The Story of Horatio Spafford –
It is Well With My Soul

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