A crew member said:
“God Almighty couldn’t sink this ship.”
by Robert E. Surgenor
SHE WAS GIGANTIC, awesome, the pride of the British White Star Lines. Measuring 882.5 feet in length with a beam of 92.6 feet and weighing almost 50,000 tons, she was the largest ship afloat. Her two 38-ton wing propellers were accompanied by a center steam turbine propeller, capable of propelling her through the waters at 24 knots. Her four massive funnels weighed sixty tons each and were large enough for two railway locomotives to pass through, side by side. She held 6,000 tons of coal to feed her 29 coal-fired boilers. Her 100-ton rudder was as high as a large house and her main anchor weighed 15 tons. Her interior was fitted with the best in materials and craftsmanship; nothing afloat could match her sheer elegance. Her name — TITANIC — comes from Titan, the sun god of ancient Greeks, and also means, “One gigantic in size or power.”
Wednesday, April 10, 1912 — 11:45 AM
With a blast from the largest and loudest deep- throated sirens ever made, she slipped away, with majestic greatness, from Southampton, England, to begin her maiden voyage to New York. At the helm was a veteran of the sea, Captain E. J. Smith, who had previously commanded seventeen ships for the White Star Lines. If passengers ever had total confidence in a sea captain, it was in Smith. The ship’s builders had announced this vessel to be unsinkable. She had a double bottom and sixteen water-tight compartments. Smith said, “I can’t imagine any condition that would cause a ship to founder . . . modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” Some of the crew assured passengers, saying, “God Almighty couldn’t sink this ship!” In their minds the name TITANIC suited her well! Little did her passengers and crew know that this sailing was not only her maiden voyage — but her last! The TITANIC was heading, in all her splendor, for a rendezvous with death. Is there not a lesson in this for us? God says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). If your rendezvous with death were tonight — what then?
Four days out to sea — what a unique and pleasurable experience it was! No vibrations, so common to sea-going ships, were felt from the leviathan engines. Unexcelled comfort and entertainment on board were combined with speed unparalleled in those days. Pride filled crew and passengers alike, as the Titan of the Seas plowed through the Atlantic’s forbidding, icy waters. Never had a ship carried so many millionaires in its first class quarters. Even J.B. Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Lines, was aboard. This sailing was a voyage to be remembered — in more ways than one!
It was a crystal-clear, calm Sunday night as the TITANIC sailed on at full speed — but nature was against her in three ways: (l) a mild winter had caused an enormous spawning of icebergs from Greenland’s northern coast into the shipping lanes of the Atlantic; (2) no breeze, which would have created ripples around an iceberg’s base, producing a phosphorescent glow visible for miles; and (3) a moonless night, thus darkness. Philips, the chief wireless opera-tor, had received five warnings that day of icebergs nearby from other ships. Ignoring these, the TITANIC never slackened her pace. Many today are the same. Turning a deaf ear to the warnings of God, they continue on their sinful course, regarding not their fate. “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14). How about you?
DESPAIR AND DOOM
Sunday, April 14th, 1912 — 11:40 P.M.
Up in the crow’s nest, seaman Fleet’s eyes peered ahead into the cold, moonless, starry night. The TITANIC, curling a white wave of foam at her bow, plowed on at full speed! Suddenly, Fleet saw it! Ringing the warning bell, he screamed, “Iceberg, dead ahead!” Murdoch, the First Officer, yelled to the helmsman, “Hard-a-Starboard!” Then he sprang to the lever, closing the watertight doors. But it was too late — an ominous shudder ran through the ship as a huge spur of ice under the waterline tore a 300 foot gash in the starboard forepart of the ship. She had sailed 546 miles that day, to meet her fate. Two hours and forty minutes later, at 2:20 A.M., on April 15th, she raised her stern as a final tribute to the North Atlantic which was claiming her. The costly and “unsinkable” TITANIC made her death plunge to a watery grave 2-1/2 miles below. Her life was short, reminding us of ours. “They are passed away as the swift ships” (Job 9:26). “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
There were not enough lifeboats for all! Listen to the testimony of a survivor: “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.” Six hours later, the last survivor was taken on board the CARPATHIA. The count was made — 705 saved, over 1500 lost! Most perished that night. How similar to man’s spiritual condition today, regarding God’s salvation. The Lord says, “Few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). However, unlike the TITANIC, God has a Lifeboat for all, and that Lifeboat is Christ! He shed His blood at Calvary. He died, and then rose again, and He is willing to save you by virtue of His finished work. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Are you lost? Then, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Friend, you have followed the spiritual application of the story of The Titanic. Using the metaphor of ‘the lifeboat’ as the Lord Jesus Christ, specifically when did you get into the lifeboat spiritually? Just like those rescued from the sinking Titanic, coming aboard a lifeboat would be a very definite and memorable experience. Are you in Christ? Be sure of this, no one was always in Christ based on their religion or their church or their family. It is a matter of individual choice and salvation – without which, you can be certain you aren’t in the lifeboat yet. Why not today?