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Text: " "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14)

You may be familiar with the story of successful American lawyer, Horatio G Spafford, a devout Christian. In the late 1860s life was good for him and his wife, Anna. They had five beautiful children, Annie, Maggie, Bessie, Tanetta and Horatio, Jr.

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.

  • A year later during the Great Chicago Fire (1871), Horatio lost a huge fortune, as much of his investment properties were destroyed.

The Spafford's did not despair. Their home had been spared and they had their family.

In 1873, they decided as a family to take a holiday in England. 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.

On November 22, 1873. The ship on which Anna and the children were sailing was struck by another ship and it sank within twelve minutes, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Only 81 of the 307 passengers and crew members survived this tragic shipwreck.

Anna was picked up by a passing cargo ship. From England, she telegraphed her husband back in the States. It read: “Saved alone!” Their 4 precious daughters had drowned. A very dark time in their life.

Horatio Spafford hurried to join his wife in England – he caught the next ship out. En-route, Spafford went into his cabin, and penned the following words to a well-loved hymn:

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot,

Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

These words were not written by someone who was enjoying an easy life but by one who found peace—deep, authentic peace—in the midst of heartache.

When we think of peace, we often think of the absence of hardship, trouble, violence, and fear. Friends, the hymn we referred to reminds us that this journey of peace is not immune to these things.

Somebody once put it this way: “On this journey we learn that peace is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of God.”

Peace in the midst of the storm is what Advent peace is all about - the peace that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent into the work to bring.

May you know His peace today.

Pause and reflect


Peace like a river, flow over my soul,

Refresh, replenish, revive, and restore;

Irrespective of pain, perplexity and storm,

Keep me settled and secure evermore.

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