Horatio Gates Spafford, a 43-year-old Chicago Businessman, suffered financial disaster in the great Chicago fire of 1871. He and his wife were still grieving over the death of their son shortly before the fire, and he realized they needed to get away for a vacation. Knowing that their friend Dwight L. Moody was going to preach in evangelistic campaigns in England that fall, Spafford decided to take his entire family to England. His wife and four daughters went ahead on the SS Ville du Havre, and he planned to follow in a few days.
But on the Atlantic Ocean the ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and sank within 12 minutes. 226 lives were lost – including the Spafford’s four daughters. When the survivors were brought to shore at Cardiff, Wales, Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband two words: “Saved alone.”
Spafford booked passage on the next ship. As they were crossing the Atlantic, the captain pointed out the place where he thought the ship had gone down. That night, Spafford penned the following words:
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.
Even after all Spafford had just went through, he knew the value of his soul to his Creator. He knew that his soul and the soul of his precious daughters still lived on. He knew that this life was not the end and he trusted in the promises of God to one day reunite the faithful.
The soul is an interesting thing. It’s that part of us that lives for all eternity, yet we rarely talk about it. We certainly don’t have trouble talking about our earthly bodies, but the soul…not so much.
Yet Scripture tells us plainly the value of the soul within us. First we go to Matthew 10:28 where Jesus tells us, “..Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Clearly, Christ here is putting a higher value on the part of us that connects us to God.
The prophet Ezekiel was speaking for God when he wrote in Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” Here God lays claim to our soul as His precious possession. As the Creator He has every right to it.
And knowing how valuable the soul is, the devil works endlessly to steal it. He knows that a soul corrupted facies an eternal lifetime with him in hell, so he tirelessly works to separate us from God so that our souls lay bear and can be easily harvested. Unfortunately, many make this far too easy for him with their selfish ways and their unthoughtful actions.
When Jesus was asked by a deceptive lawyer what the greatest commandment of the law was, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). He was trying to tell the lawyer that the love we should have for God is more then a worldly kind of love, it is a deeper love that involves the devotion of the soul. It is a complete surrender temporal and eternal.
The soul that God has given us is a vital piece of who we are, as much a part of us as the heart and the mind, but much more important. Let us learn together how to protect it by arming ourselves with the Word of God. Let us strengthen it by our devotion and protect it by our love. God has great plans for them, eternal plans. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank You for making us in Your image, with a soul that will last forever. Help us not to ignore its importance and keep us steadfast in our devotion to You so that it may live on untarnished by the attempts from the devil. Amen.