Icy waters

Today, 15th April 2012, is the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the North Atlantic Ocean, accompanied by the tragic loss of over 1,500 lives; a loss still keenly felt by the families and descendants of those who were lost.

The Titanic was a great ship, a pinnacle of human endeavour. At the time she was the largest man-made, moveable object in the world. She was built by a dedicated team of engineers for the White Star Line at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, and was said to be unsinkable. Yet human fallibility and the power of nature were overlooked in the pride of human achievement. One survivor, Eva Hart, a 7-year-old girl from England, had been travelling in second class with her parents. Her mother Esther was troubled by the claims that were being made about the ship. Eva later recalled her mother’s comments: “I don’t like this ship, because a vessel called unsinkable was flying in the face of God.”

Although designed to hold thirty-two lifeboats, only twenty were on board. The White Star management had been concerned that too many boats would spoil the beauty of the ship. Those twenty boats could only hold 1,178 people. That day the Titanic was carrying 2,200 passengers and crew. So even if her lifeboats had been fully loaded, many were destined to drown.

On the evening of 14th, Titanic’s two wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride received ice warnings from ships in the area, which tragically went unheeded. However, once the ship had been holed Jack Phillips bravely stayed at his post sending distress signals and requesting help almost until the ship finally went down.

The story of the Titanic closely mirrors our present society. We think our way of life is unsinkable. We feel we can live as we please, and in one sense we should all be allowed free will, but we must never forget that our decisions and actions have consequences, good and bad. So how good of our Creator, having a deep love for us His creation, to have given us guidelines for how to make the right decisions and how to get the best out of life, and warnings so that we might avoid disaster. Not only that but He came to teach us in person, living amongst us for over thirty years before paying the penalty for my rebellion, and yours! As the scriptures tell us, “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1v2)

Sea travel is now guided by an international agreement, the Safety of Life at Sea, which, had it been around in 1912, may have averted the Titanic disaster. Today’s society has the Bible, a fascinating book of history, prophecy, poetry and most of all divine instruction for a happy life, but has our society learnt to heed its warnings and live accordingly, or do we still say, “It will never happen!”

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For … how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2v1,3)


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