Widows understand better than most how unpredictable life can be. Our lives are a mixture of joys and sorrows. Both beautiful blessings and distressing difficulties can come along unexpectedly causing life’s dreams and plans to change. Some of these happen over a period of time, and others change us in an instant. We all know this to be true. So how can we find peace amid such turbulence?

Perhaps you’re familiar with the timeless hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. The words to this hymn were penned by Horatio Gates Spafford (1828-1888). A friend of his, Philip Paul Bliss, was a famous composer and vocalist who traveled and sang on evangelistic crusades. The words so touched Philip he composed a peaceful melody to accompany the words, and set the lyrics to music two years later.

Horatio was a devout Christian who immersed himself in Scripture. He enjoyed many years of success, prosperity, and joy. He was a prominent Chicago lawyer and real estate investor with a thriving business. He was a philanthropist who dedicated his life to serving the church. He and his beloved wife, Anna, had four beautiful daughters and one son. Life was more than good — it was truly blessed.

Horatio trusted God during his life’s prosperity, and more critically when calamity upon calamity struck his life and family. His life mirrored that of Job from the Bible. Faith, no matter how great, does not spare us from adversity.

And everything I’ve taught you is so the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world! John 16:33

Horatio’s success ground to a halt when he and Anna lost their 4-year-old son to scarlet fever. Only a few months later, he lost much of his real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

These losses brought immense grief and stress to his family. Horatio decided to treat his wife and daughters to a much- needed escape from the turmoil with a vacation to England. He couldn’t board the ship with them because he had other pressing business in Chicago but planned to join them shortly.

While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, his family’s ship was involved in a terrible collision and sunk. Out of 313 people on board, about 200 lost their lives, including all four of his precious daughters. His wife, Anna, survived the tragedy when a sailor saved her with a small boat where he found her floating in the wreckage. A larger vessel later took her to Cardiff, South Wales. She sent her husband a telegram from England that said: “Saved alone, what shall I do?”

Just a few days later, he received the excruciating news from his wife. He immediately boarded a ship to join his grieving wife. The captain was aware of Horatio’s tragedy. When they reached the point of the collision, the captain called him to his cabin to tell him they were at the spot where Ville du Havre went down.

According to Bertha Spafford, a daughter who was born after the accident, her father immediately went down to his cabin and penned the hymn while crossing the ocean that claimed his remaining children. As Horatio thought about his daughters, words of comfort and hope filled his heart and mind. The timeless words became a well-beloved hymn.

It Is Well With My Soul Lyrics – by H.G. Spafford

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.


It is well 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.


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


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


But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!


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.


Horatio and Anna had three more children, but one died of pneumonia at the age of four. In 1881, the family moved to Jerusalem, where he died of malaria in 1888.

It’s incredible to think such encouraging and uplifting words were born from the depths of such unimaginable sorrow. It’s an example of truly inspiring faith and trust in the Lord. It shows the power our God has to overcome even the darkest times of our earthly life. Putting our sorrow into words during desperation facilitates a remarkable oxymoron: it connects hearers toward finding comfort in a God who allows tragedy. His timeless hymn inspires comfort and gratitude in the face of tragedy. And 140+ years later, the lyrics remain unchanged.

Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards us until our full salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time. May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy, even though lately you’ve had to put up with the grief of many trials.  1 Peter 1: 5-6

What is our soul? Our soul is our mind, our emotions, and our will. It is who we are as human beings. It is our way to express God. The soul is where our humanity makes us feel emotions. We can choose with our will. We can choose to be well with our soul.

The book of Job from the Bible is a fascinating and controversial one. When you read it the first time you will probably have more questions than answers. It seems to contradict accepted norms and challenge our image of God. It starts out telling us Job is a good man God is very proud of, yet God allows the devil to tempt and torment Job. How is it He is a good God if this is what He does? These are the same questions that run through widows minds today.

There are things we live in our present, but we don’t understand them until we get to our future. Faith helps us learn to live with the tension of wanting to know… but not knowing.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
~Soren Kierkegaard

The most powerful teaching I ever heard on the book of Job comes from Dr. Dharius Daniels in a message he gave at Gateway Church in Dallas a little over a year ago. It was soon after the death of Marcus Lamb, a beloved champion of God remembered for his passionate love for people, the Lord, and sharing the Gospel around the world.

Marcus was only 64 when God called him home, only a year older than my husband and moving into his mansion a little over two years after my husband did. Dr. Daniels talks about Job’s experience in a profound way as he draws out the wisdom God reveals to help us on our own journey through the muck and mire we face when our world is turned upside down and inside out through tragedy and loss.

If you are feeling especially discouraged, or if you just want to blame God right now out of the despair and anguish of your situation because of the loss of your husband, I encourage you to take the time to hear this powerful sermon. You can skip forward to about 29 minutes in to get to the beginning of his insightful message. You can click on this link here. I believe it will help bring new perspective and wrap your heart in a comforting hug.

When our grieving heart resonates with another person’s grief it brings comfort in the shared experience. It can help us push past why, and how do I go on, to bolster our faith to receive and depend on God’s comfort and peace. I pray these words and messages inspire hope in your heart today. May you embrace your faith to carry you through your worst nightmare and endure your Job like seasons. Please remember our God will see us through any storm!


Teri’s dance with grief actually began over five years before she watched her beloved husband of almost 37 years take his last breath and enter Heaven’s door on October 6, 2019. A terminal degenerative neurological disease steadily and increasingly attacked nearly every major system of his body and transformed him from a vibrant, brilliant, strong and caring man to a bedfast invalid at the end. She was devoted to caring for him and doing her best to make the most of every minute they had left, to love him and pray for a miracle.

She thought she knew what her future held, but she had no idea. Losing him was the first time she experienced a close and personal loss. He was the love of her life. The onslaught of the pandemic with its reign of fear-mongering, forced isolation and separation entering the scene and disrupting or destroying whatever sense of “normal” that remained, just added insult to injury.

Her faith in God is the sustaining force keeping her fighting spirit to find and share hope in a bright future. Her heart’s desire is to walk beside her fellow widows toward a path of promise and healing. She wants to offer encouragement and hope so others can find the strength to take that next breath or next step. She recently started her own blog, https://widowwhispers.blogspot.com/, to share with other widows not only the struggles and hardships of widowhood, but the triumphs. Her hope is found in leaning on the Lord Jesus to enjoy a God inspired future anchored in expectation He will bring us to a fulfilling and meaningful life.