How We Escaped – By Elmer Shelhamer

Chapter 4

Wabash River

Years afterward some forty preachers, myself included, on a hot sultry day went swimming in the dangerous Wabash, at Terre Haute, Indiana. We were diving, plunging, and playing when I was suddenly seized with cramps. When I first disappeared, no one thought it serious, but when I came up and called for help, a general cry went out, “Brother Shelhamer is drowning! Lord, save him!!” I was caught in the mad current and carried down stream; more than one had drowned in this same bend of the river. A one-armed preacher kept up with me lifting me in the air till I caught a breath, then down again I went. I could hear two voices: Satan said, “I have you this time and will drown you! I have tried different times and in different ways to get you to backslide and failed, but this time I will let you go to heaven, but will put a stop to your getting others to go.” O, the gloom of the watery grave that surrounded me! But amid the darkness I could hear those dear boys pray, “Lord, save him! Lord, save him!!” This gave me confidence and I said to myself, “These prayers can never drown!” Just, then an old leaky boat was pushed out and I seized it only to have it sink with me. “Don’t get into it, hang on outside!” With chin on edge of boat I was taken ashore, where I lay on the bank while the faithful lads rolled me and pumped the water out. It was a narrow, but blessed “escape” for which I will ever praise God.