Edited by Robert V. Rakestraw (February 16, 2017)
“Early in January, 1862, [in East Africa, missionary-explorer David] Livingstone’s wife was once more at his side, after an absence of four years. [David had decided to send Mary and the children to his native Scotland, because of an extensive African journey he was planning. She had spent the fourth year in deep] loneliness and depression, and intense longing for her husband, [and now] she had come back to Africa and rejoined him on the little steamer on the [river] Zambesi, with bright plans for a happy home on the Nyassa [Lake Malawi].
“Only three short months, however, were they together before his wife was taken from him. After an illness of a few days only, her spirit passed away, and the man who had faced calmly so many deaths, and braved so many dangers, knelt by her death-bed utterly broken down, and weeping like a child.
“Livingstone says little in his next book, The Zambesi and its Tributaries, of the death of his wife. He cannot publish to the world the deepest feelings of his heart, but his journals give us some inkling of what he suffered in her loss. ‘It is the first heavy stroke I have suffered, and quite takes away my strength. I wept over her who well deserved many tears. I loved her when I married her [in 1845], and the longer I lived with her I loved her the more. God pity the poor children, who were all tenderly attached to her; and I am left alone in the world by one whom I felt to be a part of myself. I hope it may, by divine grace, lead me to realize heaven as my home, and that she has but preceded me in the journey. Oh, my Mary, my Mary; how often we have longed for a quiet home since you and I were cast adrift at Kolobeng. Surely the removal by a kind Father who knoweth our frame means that He rewarded you by taking you to the best home, the eternal one in the heavens. . . . For the first time in my life I feel willing to die.’ “
From The Life of David Livingstone, by Mrs. J. H. Worcester, Jr. (Moody, no date, pp. 63-64). This selection, along with other essays and items, may be found on Dr. Rakestraw’s website/blog, www.gracequestministries.org., where you may also order his books GraceQuest (his autobiography) and Heart Cries (his work on prayer). Here you may also sign up to receive free postings on issues of major concern for God’s people In addition, you may write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.