The Disaster of the Ville du Havre
It is well, it is well with my soul, part 2
Heb 6:19-20 "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It
enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us,
has entered on our behalf." NIV
All was peaceful that evening. The ocean was smooth, and hardly any wind could
be felt. The sunrise was one of the most gorgeous ones of the season. Anna
Spafford had put her four, excited little girls to bed. Soon they would be
reaching their destination: France, and sleep was far from their minds. Little
Tanetta sang "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" over and over again. But finally they
were all asleep, and Anna, feeling relieved, also went to bed. She had no way of
knowing this would be their last night together . . .
Around two in the morning, the cruiser was violently shaken as a horrendous
noise woke everyone up. Confused, most passengers went on deck, only to discover
that an English ship, the Lochearn, had collided with the Ville du Havre. The
captain assured them that all was fine; but in reality the cruiser had been
nearly broken in two, and it didn't take them long to realize that they were
sinking fast. Commotion and chaos overtook them. They started grabbing life
preservers and trying to push lifeboats into the water. Unfortunately, these had
recently been painted, and they were now stuck fast to the deck. Finally a few
of them were yanked loose, and passengers fought desperately to be one of the
few travelers to board those rescue boats.
Anna Spafford decided it would be wrong to push others aside in order to save
her daughters and herself, and she watched desperately as the boats were lowered
into the ocean. To her horror, several masts fell over and crushed the few
lifeboats to pieces, knocking their inhabitants to their death in the freezing
water. Had she fought for her rights, she, too, might have died.
As the remainder passengers helplessly watched the water rise higher and higher,
Anna's daughter, Maggie, who had been screaming ever since the collision,
suddenly stopped. "God will take care of us!" she said confidently.
The ship soon collapsed into the ocean, creating a huge whirlpool. The
passengers were drawn down into the freezing water. Anna clung to one of her
daughters with all the power she could muster, but the force of the water
wrenched her child away. She tried to find her again in the tumultuous waters
and successfully located the edge of her nightgown, only to lose her again for
good. A kind passenger had tried to help two of her other daughters. They had
almost reached a lifeboat when both children lost their grip on their rescuer
and sank into the void.
When Anna discovered she had lost all four of her children, she had to be
physically restrained from throwing herself into the ocean. She was later quoted
as saying: "I wanted to die! I wanted to follow my dear ones! I could not live
without them! But God told me, 'You are spared for a purpose. You have work to
How hard it was to return to her home in Lakeview with her husband, to see the
ice skates and sleds, the four pairs of rubber boots neatly positioned against
one wall, and all the other things that would remind them for years of their
loss. However, during their ordeal, they had peace in their heart because they
could sense the presence of their loving Heavenly Father. They knew God was
sustaining them, and they rejoiced with the thought that their little girls were
now in heaven. God, himself was caring for them! They couldn't be in better
hands! Praises filled their lips and they both started to reach out to less
fortunate than them, bringing the Good News message of the gospel in Chicago and
later on to Muslims living in the Holy Land. They founded the American Colony in
Jerusalem, which continues today to minister to the poor and friendless in
My friend, we are never hopeless with God at our side. Trials may seem
unconquerable, but when we rely on our friend Jesus who promised Matt 28:20 "And
surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age", we will be filled with
inner peace and our forever friend Himself will hand us the solution.
God has a special task for you to do. Don't feel like you are worthless! Jer 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you
apart." NIV He has great plans for you. Talk to Him and find out how important
you are in His eyes! He loves you and will guide you, if you just let Him.
"God will take care of us!" said Maggie, and He sure did! Will you let Him take
care of you as well?