Starvation At Sea

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What is like to starve to death?  To learn what it is like, all you need to do is read the story and history of Mr George Whitefield, preacher and evangelist of eighteenth century England.  Born in 1714, Whitefield entered Oxford University in 1734 at 20years of age and joined John Wesley’s Holy Club.  While attending Oxford, Whitefield accepted The Lord Jesus Christ into his own heart and thus became a Christian.  In 1737 George Whitefield was ordained a preaching deacon in the Church of England and accepted the invitation of John and Charles Wesley to cross the Atlantic Ocean and join them in the colony of Georgia.

Mr. Whitefield arrived there in May 1738 at the age of twenty-three.  After spending the summer preaching in Georgia, Whitefield felt that God would have him return home, and so on September 9, 1738 he boarded a ship returning to England.

While in route, on October 6 the ship experienced the worst storm the sailors had ever witnessed.  Most all of their fresh food washed overboard during the storm, making the future look very ominous and foreboding.  Mr. Whitefield wrote in his journal, “All was terror and confusion, men’s hearts failing them for fear, and the wind and the sea waging horribly.  But God (forever be adored for His unmerited goodness) was exceedingly gracious unto me.  I felt a sweet complacency in my will in submission to His.  Many particular promises God had made me from His Word, that I should return in peace, flowed in upon my heart; and He enabled me greatly to rejoice.”

By the end of October the daily ration was just a quart of water per day plus some salt beef and water dumplings.  Several days later the passengers were informed that there was only a three-day supply of drinking water remaining, if they consumed it at their current rate.  As a result, the water ration was reduced to a single pint a day. 

Yet another violent wind arose on November 6 and drove the ship back westwardly for many miles.  Two little cakes made of flour and water and a tiny piece of salt beef were all the Whitefield had to eat as he lay very sick and feeling miserable on his sleeping cot.  By this point, most all of the travelers on board were very weak and emaciated.

On November 10 Whitefield wrote in his journal, “Was much strengthened in our present distress by…our Saviour’s turning the water into wine at the marriage at Cana  We have applied to Him as the holy Virgin did, and told Him in prayer ‘we have but very little water.‘  At present He seems to turn away His face, and say, ‘What have I to do with you?‘  But this is only because the hour of extremity is not yet come.  When it is, I doubt not but He will now as richly supply our wants as he did theirs then.”

On November  11 the daily rations were down to an ounce or two of salt beef, a pint of muddy water, and a small cake of flour and water.  Life in general seemed very bleak.  Whitefield wrote again in his journal, “I have besought the Lord many times to send us a fair wind; but now He does not  think it fit to answer me.  I am wholly resigned, knowing that His grace will be sufficient for me and that His time is best.”

It truly was a very desperate time and all life on board hung in the balance as the ship floundered in the sea.  Then on the very next day as the end of life seemed inevitable,…land was sighted… and on November 14, 1738, the ship arrived in Ireland.  There was but half a pint of water left on the ship.  A small boat was sent out to bring back food and water.  George Whitefield wrote, “As soon as the provisions came, we kneeled down and returned hearty thanks to our good God, who has heard our prayers, and sent His angel before us, to prepare our way.”

Points To Ponder 

What was the worst trial that you have ever faced?  Why do you think God allowed you to experience it?  What lessons did you learn from it?  Were you frustrated by God’s timing?

George Whitefield’s acceptance of God’s timing as best, was amazing evidence of the depth of his faith.  Are you willing to accept God’s timing as relates to your own life and the events happening within it?  God is never late, but He can be very last minute from our point of view.

Holy Scripture Says in The Book of James, Chapter 1, verses 2-4 NKJV:

Profiting from Trials:

  1. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
  1.   knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 
  1.   But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.”

A common thread that runs through all of the great men and women of faith that traveled throughout the world before us, is that they all possessed and exercised great, glorious, and abundant faith.  That sustaining faith that they clung to with their very lives is what allowed them to achieve the results they did. 

Learn Well The Lessons Of History…………..

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Starvation At Sea — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you Dave, you have impacted my life in multiple ways you can’t imagine. Now, you have cross this land to be with God and now we are going to maintain your legacy by impacting other people’s lives. Please let God know that I’m not giving up and I’m continuously growing until we see again.


  2. Thank you Dave for the reminder to stand steadfast in our faith in the BIG and little things of life because God’s timing is always on time.

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