LESSONS FROM THE TITANIC
Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
One of the memorable movies I’ve seen is “Titanic” – the 1997 film based on the story of the tragic sinking of the “unsinkable ship”, RMS Titanic ..April 14, 1912, when the biggest maritime disaster of all time happened at 11.40pm. I guess we all know basically what happened when the ship hit an iceberg . The iceberg glanced the side of the ship causing her plates to buckle and rivets to pop below the water line 300 feet in length. And the Titanic was doomed .. there was a total of 2,206 people on board this magnificent ocean liner .. It broke in two and only 705 passengers and crew were rescued. What a tragedy. There’s a lot to this story .. but it was said back then that this ship could never sink, and people boasted “not even God Himself could sink the Titanic”. What a strange statement .. it seems that they felt they were in charge of their own destiny. How wrong were they. They had no fear of the elements, or the deep ocean. It was believed man’s intelligence and wisdom could conquer the universe.
The passengers ( many of whom were very wealthy and well known) had every confidence in this world class ship that everything was under control ..they thought everything had been provided. On that disastrous night, they were ordered to put on life jackets, but some refused saying they didn't want to get dirty and mess up their evening gowns. Some were urged to get into the boats and they said, "Why should we get into the boats and go out into the cold night, when we'll just be coming back on board in a few minutes? Many of them laughed when the porters and stewards tried to warn them that the ship was going to go down. An absolute tragedy.
This movie reminded me that life is unpredictable ..indeed James Cameron, the film’s producer and director himself said “the lesson of this story is – life is uncertain, the future unknowable, the unthinkable possible”. No-one on board RMS Titanic that day believed they were in deep trouble and in risk of losing their life. It couldn’t happen.. The loss of the Titanic left a shaken world in disbelief and made people stop and think ..but I found Psalm 108: 12 helpful. It says “Give us help from trouble, for no-one else can rescue us”. How true that was for these poor people – a nearby ship ignored the distress call and was too late to save most of the passengers and crew. Many drowned in the terrible icy waters of the ocean. God is in charge of our world and He alone has the power to help us. Nothing else can protect us.
In Ecclesiastes 9, Solomon says “as long as we are alive we still have hope..life is short.. the fastest runners and the greatest heroes don’t always win races and battles. Wisdom, intelligence and skill don’t always make you healthy, rich or popular. We each have our share of bad luck. V12 – “none of us know when we might fall victim to a sudden disaster and find ourselves like fish in a net or birds in a trap”. So this wise man urges us to make the most of life while we can .. We live as if we are the master of our own fate, the captain of our soul. How foolish we are!
James 4:14, “How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog - now you see it, soon it is gone.” (Living Bible). This verse is quite a shock, but it’s absolutely true. How long will you live? The passengers on board the Titanic had no idea of what was to happen on 14 April 1912. They were having a good time ( well many of them were depending on their social status and privilege I guess) and enjoying the best of everything, with no inkling of tragedy looming .. so what lesson is there out of this? Simply
Celebrate every day of your life to the fullest. Don‟t get so involved in planning for tomorrow that you fail to appreciate today. “What is your life?” Tomorrow can be an enemy because your life isn’t lived out tomorrow. It’s lived out in today. A study years ago asked 3,000 people, “What do you have to live for?” Psychologists were shocked that 94% said they were simply enduring the present waiting for something exciting to happen tomorrow. The reality is we don’t know what tomorrow is like. The passengers had no idea of that iceberg.
Remember that line from Kipling‟s poem: “If you can dream and not let dreams become your master then you‟ll be a man, my son.” A lot of us allow our dreams to master us. “We’re going to enjoy life someday, when we get more secure and get our problems solved.”. 1,500 men, women and children were killed in the early hours of that April morning.
Source: Chris Witts