Abigail Becker

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
We should be passing the Long Point Light-house any moment, cried Captain Hackett to the men on the ice-covered deck of the schooner. The ship, the Conductor, was sailing through a raging blizzard and his voice carried only a short distance before it was drowned out by the greater noise of the wind whipping through the sails. As the bow plunged in and then out of the rough sea the captain rubbed the sleeve of his heavy jacket to break loose the ice and snow which was coating his face. It was hard to see, and all eyes on deck strained toward shore hoping to catch sight of the lighthouse or some landmark by which they could steer. At times the visibility through the storm was a half mile; more frequently, the men on deck could see less than a hundred yards.
Suddenly the bow of the ship struck a submerged sandbar with terrific force. The men were flung across the deck by the force of the impact. The gusts of wind quickly tore the canvas sails of the helpless ship into rags. The yawl, which was carried on board the schooner as a lifeboat, broke loose from its lashings and was swept overboard. The wind and the waves pounded the ship, pushing it over onto its side. Straining to save themselves from drowning, the seven men aboard scrambled up into the rigging. From there the stranded crew could sometimes catch a glimpse of the faint outline of the shore several hundred yards away. The Canadian shore, well known to the lakemen, was one of the most desolate stretches of Lake Erie.
From the only cottage along several miles of shoreline, a woman, Abigail Becker, spotted a smashed yawl as it was thrown up on the beach. Her husband had left early that morning for work many miles away and she was alone with her small children. Seeing the broken yawl as it was thrown ashore, she ran out barefoot into the freezing cold to investigate. Over the crashing surf she spotted the men hanging perilously to the disabled ship's rigging. Running back into the cottage, she told her children not to be frightened because she had to leave them alone for a while.
Acting swiftly, she collected pieces of driftwood and soon had the orange flames of a bonfire leaping skyward. She hoped the men on the rigging would see the fire and be encouraged to keep up the fight for life.
Abigail Becker knew that the cold would kill the men if they weren't rescued within a short time. During a brief lull in the storm the woman cried out with all her strength, "Only swim! I'll fetch you to shore. But swim!" She repeated the message several times hoping the men would understand and do what she was asking.
One of the men stripped off his jacket and boots and plunged into the icy water. He swam with difficulty through the high waves. A few strokes from safety he started to go down. Abigail Becker broke through the surf and swam out to the man and hauled him safely to shore. She brought him to the fire and wrapped him in blankets and poured him a cup of tea from a pot of water boiling over the fire. In a matter of minutes the sailor regained his strength and she learned he was the captain.
Another man let go of the rigging in an attempt to swim for shore. This man didn't make it far before he showed signs of weakening, and the captain went out to help him. The captain no sooner reached the man when both of them appeared to have difficulty staying afloat. Into the icy water again went Abigail Becker, still wearing only a flimsy dress. The two men had disappeared under the water. She dove and found them beneath the surface and with a tremendous effort brought them safe to shore. This brave-hearted woman repeated her efforts until all seven men were safe on shore.
"Only swim! I'll fetch you to shore. But swim!" was her repeated cry. Her plea to the perishing sailors is like the Savior's plea to a perishing world. Earnestly He is entreating sinners, "Only believe! I'll fetch you safe to heaven. But believe!"
Why is it so important to believe? Because all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Every one of us who does not know the Savior is in a state of spiritual shipwreck and in danger of perishing. That is why faith in Christ is so necessary If you do not know the Savior you are in jeopardy of losing your never-dying soul. Should your grip on life be loosened and you pass out of this world, it will be forever too late to be saved. To PERISH means to
Sin has so ruined us that there is nothing left that we can do to save ourselves. The Lord Jesus died on Calvary's cross, finished the work of redemption and rose again. What does redemption mean? It means, "Deliverance with power." When the Lord Jesus Christ died He provided a way that we might be delivered from all the trouble sin has brought us into.
Eph. 1:77In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7) says: In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. When anyone truly believes on the Lord Jesus as the Son of God they receive the forgiveness of sins. No longer will they have to dread the punishment from God which their sins deserve. Also, when we receive forgiveness we can know God as a loving Father who will never desert us. This was not possible before. The sins which we had committed were a barrier between us and God to keep us apart. When we are forgiven the barrier is taken down and we are able to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.
"It is finished!" cried the Lord Jesus on the cross. It was one of the last sentences He spoke before He died. He was speaking of the work of redemption, that is, of the work by which sinners would be "delivered with power" from the deadly consequences of their sins. The work is complete. Because of that finished work of redemption, the moment a sinner believes is the moment he is passed from Condemnation to forgiveness.
The people of Long Point Bay still honor Abigail Becker. In commemoration of her amazing feat more than 120 years ago her portrait hangs in the Abigail Becker Ward of Simcoe Town Hospital. Will you be one who honors the Lord Jesus for the great work He accomplished on the cross? Or will you pass out of this world without ever having believed on the One who paid such a great price to save you?
God commendeth His love toward us, in that, white we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:88But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)