The Titanic: An Unimaginable Tragedy (KJV)
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- Version: KJV
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THE SHIP OF DREAMS
On 10th April 1912 one of the greatest ocean liners ever to leave the shores of Britain majestically slipped out of Southampton to begin her maiden voyage to New York. The Titanic was the pride and joy of the British White Star Lines. The ship’s builders and owners proudly announced that the vessel “had been designed to be unsinkable.” Captain Edward J. Smith left no-one in doubt, giving assurance that the luxury superliner was the epitome of safety. Smith said: “I can’t imagine any condition that would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” Some of the awestruck crew also assured passengers saying “God Almighty couldn’t sink this ship!” In their minds the name Titanic suited her well.
Little, however, did the 2,228 passengers and crew know that this sailing was not only her maiden voyage — but also her last! The Titanic was heading, in all her splendour, for a rendezvous with death. You too, my dear reader friend, are swiftly sailing on the sea of time and are destined for eternity. How important it is to be ready before you finally sink into the cold grip of death: “Prepare to meet thy God…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Amos 4:12; Hebrews 9:27).
The Titanic’s passenger list ranged from the richest people in the world to the poorest, setting out to begin a new life in America. For 4 days they mingled together in surroundings fit for royalty. The luxury liner had everything you could possibly imagine; no expense had been spared in the construction of all the lavish rooms and facilities on board. Pride filled crew and passengers alike, as the grand sea leviathan ploughed her way through the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Little did anyone know that an unimaginable tragedy was looming because warnings were ignored. On the night of the disaster, as passengers wined and dined, the wireless operators received six different warnings of icebergs ahead from the Caronia, Baltic, Amerika, Noordam, Californian and Mesaba. All the messages went unheeded. “Alter course, change direction, turn the ship” were the urgent appeals but they fell on deaf ears.
What folly to ignore warnings when lives are at stake. What greater folly to trifle with warnings about your precious soul’s salvation and eternal destiny: “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not…there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Job 33:14; Proverbs 14:12). “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip…. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” (Hebrews 2:1,3). Remember, my friend, that tomorrow is not good enough to turn to God for salvation and mercy. Now is the only time you have, tomorrow is not promised: “Now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation…. Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (2 Corinthians 6:2; Proverbs 27:1). Sometimes tragedy “cometh suddenly at an instant” (Isaiah 30:13)—as it did to the ship of dreams.
A few hours later at 11.40pm the unthinkable happened when the Titanic collided with an iceberg. Up on the ship’s bridge Capt. Smith, Bruce Ismay (the head of the White Star Line), and Thomas Andrews (the ship’s builder) stood in disbelief as the full horror sank in. Many of the passengers just partied on—eating, drinking, dancing and having a great time. At first there was joking, with most voicing both amusement and disbelief. Some put their life preservers on and danced around on the deck. Others refused to put life jackets on because they did not want to dirty their expensive clothes. They refused to believe that this “unsinkable” ship could actually sink. Just after midnight, as crewmen fought furiously to keep the ship afloat, the order was given to uncover the lifeboats. Two hours and forty minutes later, at 2:20am, on April 15th, the Titanic plunged to a watery grave some 2½ miles below in the North Atlantic, with the loss of 1,523 lives—only 705 survived.
Imminent death was a thought that was very far from everyone’s mind when they boarded her. Passengers immersed themselves in entertainment and merriment, oblivious that eternity was staring them in the face: “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:19-20). Like the Titanic the Bible tells us that our life is also brief and will soon pass away: “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
ONE THING NEEDFUL
Yes, the luxurious liner had everything you could possibly imagine, except one thing she didn’t have. She didn’t have enough lifeboats for all! The builders and owner were so confident in the Titanic’s construction and safety features that they considered 20 lifeboats quite sufficient. One survivor chillingly, and vividly, recounts the devastating consequences of so few lifeboats: “The agonizing cries of death from over a thousand throats, the wails and groans of the suffering, the shrieks of the terror-stricken, and the awful gasping for breath of those in the last throes of drowning, none of us will ever forget to our dying day.” This is nothing compared to the God given warnings about an eternity in hell: “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all [unrepentant sinners and unbelievers] that forget God…. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched…. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Psalm 9:17; Mark 9:44; Matthew 13:42). Yes, the Titanic lacked one thing that could have saved everyone. One thing is also needful for you, my friend, if you are to be saved from sin and hell. You need the Lord Jesus Christ as the anchor of your precious never dying soul before it is too late “He will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth…. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter3:9).
WARNING: STOP–THINK–AND ACT NOW
Unlike the builders of the Titanic, God has provided a Lifeboat for all who come to Him in repentance and “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” That Lifeboat is Jesus Christ. He shed His blood at Calvary. He died, then rose again, and He is willing to save us by virtue of His finished work on the cross: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Are you still lost and unsaved without Christ? Then, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…. Repent and believe the gospel” (Acts 16:31; Acts 17:30). Dear friend, I would plead with you not to reject this invitation to board the one only soul-saving Lifeboat. Perish the thought that you don’t need it. It was reported that some of the lifeboats that left the ship early were only half full. This was because many on board refused to believe that the “unsinkable” Titanic was sinking. They perished because their faith was misguided. Don’t be like them. Believe the gospel. Repent and trust Jesus Christ today, read the Bible daily, obey what you read, and God will never let you down. Ignore the warning at your peril and you will go down, down, down, not to the bottom of the Atlantic, but to hell. The eternal consequences of ignoring this warning will, like the sinking of the Titanic, be an unimaginable tragedy: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). —Donald J Morrison