I remember reading a poem when I was in Jr High or High School that really had an impression on me. It made me feel invincible…unconquerable. I could do anything. When I was faced with hard things the last two sentences at the end of this poem would run through my mind and I would toughen up and power through. I thought it was within me to handle whatever situation I was faced with, or would be faced with. Maybe you can relate.
But, recently, I had another perspective come to me that makes me realize just how untruthful this belief was and is. Let’s read the poem first and then I will explain why I chose to call this blog “The Captain of My Soul.”
Here is the poem:
Invictus By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Some of you may recognize the last bit of this from the movie Invictus With Morgan Freeman. Now, I think it is a beautiful thought and poem that probably has helped many a man and woman endure through painful and difficult circumstances where the odds just felt stacked against them. There is something to say about the unconquerable spirit… but, there is something that is really neglected if this is our approach to life and the challenges we face. And this something is POWERFUL! It is the truth. It is freeing. It is what changes us.
The change in perspective came from reading the book “Clean Hands, Pure Heart” by Philip A Harrison. He shares a response to this poem by Elder Orson F. Whitney, an apostle from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, called “The Soul’s Captain [The Answer]”.
Here it is:
The Soul’s Captain [The Answer] By Elder Orson F Whitney
Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
What none but him could bear. –
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine — free agency
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of Life’s great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.
This site is dedicated to the truth that Christ is the captain of our souls. He is the only one that can deliver us from challenges, trials, and bondage. When we surrender to Him and realize that “I can’t. God can. I’ll let him.” We open up a power in our lives that can absolutely and completely change us. I am not talking about a temporary surrender until the storm passes… but a lifetime change of our very nature. Turning to Christ with full purpose of heart.
“Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world. Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ…men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ…Their will is swallowed up in His will… Not only would they die for the Lord, but, more important, they want to live for Him.”
-President Ezra Taft Benson, July 1989
It is my hope that you take away hope from this site and that it helps you with whatever challenges you face, whether it they be small or great… God cares about them all and is in the details.
Give yourself to The Captain of Your Soul and receive the blessings that are constantly being offered to you, and see the tender mercies He places in your life each and every day.
-From A loving brother