A Sailor's Conversion

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
When I went away to sea, I had a horrid feeling of being unsafe, of some unseen danger very near me, and I could not shake it off. All through our outward passage this feeling clung to me. I would not speak of it to my shipmates, but kept it secret and suffered from it alone.
We were on our way home again and it was my midnight watch. The sea was rolling in mountainous waves in the pitch-darkness and I was alone on the bow of the vessel, looking out. Suddenly there rose a mighty wave which swept me from the vessel far out on the rolling waters. I could feel that I was borne forward on the crest of a great wave, as helpless as a straw. I knew that I would not be missed from my station for a while, nor could I be seen if I were missed. The roar of the waves drowned my cries and I felt that there was no hope for me.
Oh! the horrible, heart-sinking agony! I pictured my wife widowed, my children fatherless and only a void where I had been! What horror I felt! I thought of the sermons I had heard, of my lost chances, and of my death close at hand. All this went through my mind as I struggled fiercely with the wave that was blinding and choking me.
I had no hope. I was headed for a grave in the black raging sea and from there to the scarlet fire of the unforgiven. It was near me, close upon me-a matter of a few seconds-and then eternal darkness and sorrow! Oh, how I struggled with the choking waters!
Then my heart went up in a mighty cry for pardon. All that there was in me of life and sense and feeling was in that cry. I had given up all hope of being saved, but I struggled on so that I might cry and pray. Prayer after prayer, as swift as lightning, went up from my heart as I struggled more and more feebly with the wave that was drowning me.
I was losing consciousness, having lost all hope of rescue when I suddenly felt something touch my hands and I clutched at it in desperation. It was one of the ropes trailing behind our ship! Weakly I clung to it until breath and strength returned and I was able to climb again to the deck, safe and uninjured, except for the fright I had passed through.
I had not been missed. But, when I could go below, the first thing I did in the presence of all the men was to fall on my knees and humbly and heartily thank God that my life had been spared. There was no mocking. They stood in respectful, appreciative silence, feeling that I was doing the right thing.
Since then I have thanked the Lord every day, not only because He snatched me out of the wild waters that night, but because with loving kindness He rescued my soul from eternal destruction. With the same loving kindness, He brought me safely back to my wife and children.