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Abraham Lincoln's Life Raft

Abraham Lincoln went into a severe period of grief in February 1862 when his 11-year-old son, Willie, died.

He found comfort in the words of Presbyterian preacher Reverend Phineas D. Gurley, whose church Lincoln attended but never joined. In the eulogy for Willie, Gurley preached that when tragedy comes, one must look to "him who sees the end from the beginning, and doeth all things well." He also said that when one trusts God, "our sorrows will be sanctified and made a blessing to our souls, and by and by we shall have occasion to say with blended gratitude and rejoicing, 'It is good for us that we have been afflicted.'"

Lincoln asked Gurley for the words of the eulogy. They would become his life raft during his intense sorrow.

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