Have you ever heard this phrase: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”? What you may not know is that those two short sentences are the last two lines of a poem by English poet William Ernest Henley titled “Invictus”, the Latin word for “invincible” or “unconquerable.” The full poem goes like this:
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.
William Henley’s poem is a poem of defiance in the face of great odds. At the age of 14, he contracted tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate his leg directly below the knee. He underwent the amputation when he was just 17. Shortly thereafter, he was told that his other leg would have to be amputated. However, by enlisting the help of another doctor and undergoing intense surgery, he was able to save his other leg. This event, and his determination to live, enjoy, and control his life despite his circumstances, are what led him to write this poem while he was recovering in the hospital. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.
Henley felt that he needed to be in control of his life, and he thought that he could control every aspect of his existence including what happened to him after he died. From his words, we see that he did not accept that there was an eternal being whom he could lean on for support in this life and for assurance of his destiny in the life to come. He wanted to be the “master” and “captain” of his entire existence.
However, the Bible tells us in Psalm 103 that we are but “dust.” It goes on to say, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” James 4:14 says, “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” And in Jeremiah 10:23, the prophet cries out, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”
As much as we may try to control our lives, we are not the masters of our fate. God is the one who is in control of the entire universe. The good news is that God has a great plan for each of our lives, no matter what your current situation is, and no matter how your life may be going right now. God says in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God’s plan is for us to live a victorious life. Listen to the following poem, titled “InVictor”, that my daughter and I wrote, that shows you how this life can turn out.
Out of the sin that covers me
Dark as the storm clouds roll
I thank God in Heaven above
For saving my wretched soul.
In times of difficult circumstance
God has always for me been there
He has given me a second chance
At the cross my sins He did bare.
Beyond this earth of fears and tears
Sits a place that God has made
No trouble shall stop me in these years
Till I shall go there unafraid.
It matters not how early or late
How fast or slow this life may roll
God is the master of my fate
Christ is the conqueror of my soul.
We can receive all that God has in store for us, in this life and the next, if we turn our lives over to Him right now. Allow me to share with you how you can do this so that you can be victorious now and in eternity.
First, recognize that your sins have separated you from God. Our sins are the bad or wrong things that we do. In honest repentance, agree with God about your sinfulness and admit your need for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Because of our sins, we are automatically sentenced to die and go to an awful place called hell. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” This is what happens to those who die without giving their life to Jesus Christ while they have a chance.
Second, realize that God loves you, and believe that his perfect Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins –taking the punishment that we deserve.John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth (or showed) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross, we do not have to go to Hell. We can be saved from that terrible place.
Third, accept this invitation from Jesus Christ to receive salvation by trusting him by faith to be your Savior. Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you trust Jesus Christ for salvation, you will be saved from sin, spiritual death, and hell. You will be guaranteed a life worth living on earth and eternal life in Heaven. If this is your heart’s desire, you can pray a short prayer to let God know about your decision:
Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!