I always find the stories of the Titanic fascinating. The interest stems from my family’s connection to the famous ship. They built the vessel in Belfast and my great-great-grandfather worked on it. Many of my uncles continued to work in the Harlem & Wolfe shipyards until recent days where they continued to build the ferries which traveled from Ireland to Scotland or Ireland. As a joke, I used to ask my Uncle George which ferries he helped to build so I could take a different one. All kidding aside, the city erected an impressive museum to honor the boat, and it is well worth a visit to the Titanic Belfast Museum.
I love the story told about the band on the stricken ship. After the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, Hartley and his fellow band members started playing music to help keep the passengers calm as the crew loaded the lifeboats with the women and children. Many of the survivors said that Hartley and the band continued to play until the very end. They played songs like “Nearer My God to Thee,” by Sarah Fuller Adams. Their actions were a display of a Titanic faith considering the overwhelming situation.
A Titanic Faith
Have you ever displayed such an unshakeable faith? Could I still grasp my faith in such circumstances or would panic set in instead? Throughout history, we find many stories of the incredible faith of individuals in dire situations. My mind thinks of all those martyred for their belief in the Risen Christ. Many stories tell of the martyr singing and praising God as they breathed their last breath. I would like to think I could do that, but I’m not sure, so I pray to God to give me His strength if I ever face such hardships.
To understand how these people kept the faith, I think we need to start at the end of the story. Because, in that ending, we find an eternal hope that can carry us through anything. That hope comes from the promises in Revelation 21:1-4 (NIV);
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Revelations 21:1-4 (NIV)
No more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain for those who believe. When we truly accept this promise, it can help us endure anything this world may throw at us. This also helps explain why followers of Christ do not grieve as the world grieves. And our hope is not some vague, misty, romantic wish that all will turn out well. Throughout the scriptures, we see how this hope does not disappoint. Paul’s prayer in Romans still encourages us to put all of our hopes in Christ. Romans 15:13 (NIV); “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
[bctt tweet=”Our hope is not some vague, misty, romantic wish that all will turn out well.”]
This same hope in Christ also calls us to rescue those lost in a sea of despair and hopelessness. Another story from the Titanic tells of a Scottish preacher, John Harper, who gave his life vest to save another. He knew he was bound for heaven already, so wanted to give someone else the chance to live and find Christ.
“A young man later described how Harper had repeatedly urged him: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved’–apparently the preacher’s last words. The young man was rescued and later testified: ‘There, two miles above the ocean floor, I did believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for my salvation. I was John Harper’s last convert!’”from ‘The Titanic’s Last Hero’ by Moody Adams (2012).
The stories from the Titanic inspire me because of my family connection to the ship but they also challenge me to develop a Titanic size faith based on my eternal hope in Christ. It is calling me to believe and trust no matter what is going on around me and reminds me to share my faith so others can find their faith. I want to develop a Titanic passion for sharing the Gospel with those sinking in despair.
Dear Jesus. thank you for accepting me as one of your children through what Jesus did for us on the cross. In Him, we can now be called righteous, not for anything we have done, but because of His sacrifice. You called us as believers to go into the world and make disciples of every nation. I ask You to give each of us the courage and confidence to share Your Gospel with those around us, whether online or face to face. I pray those you place in our paths would see You in us and seek your truth and hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen.