KEY SCRIPTURE Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Late on Friday, April 14th, 1912, in the black of night and the ice cold of the North Atlantic sea, the largest cruise ship, on its maiden voyage, hit an iceberg. The 'unsinkable' behemoth opened up in the bitter waters as if by a can opener. The freezing ocean forced its way in through a rip in the armour all thought impenetrable. With more than 2200 people on board and only half the needed lifeboats, an immense tragedy was about to unfold.
As the massive liner began sinking, the passengers and crew filled the few lifeboats while the rest didn't. At that time of night, and at that temperature, the Kingdom was at hand for many of them.
12.15 a.m., and the cruise ship Carpathia, on its regular voyage between New York and Europe, became aware of the Titanic's dilemma. Ship's Captain Arthur Rostron immediately changed course, and charged his team with emergency procedures. Then he informed the passengers of the change of destination, and instructed the engine room engineer to get as many knots out of the ship as possible.
Rostron turned off the heating in the hope of gaining extra speed. They achieved three and a half knots more than its fastest time. As they reached the target area a few hours later, their preparedness became evident. From the outset, they supplied blankets, food and drinks, and the medical crew were prepared to tend the injured. Rostron also had counsellors on call to assist with trauma. He and his crew performed the impossible in rescuing 705 survivors.
The other essential thing was that Rostron was praying the entire journey. When asked about the risk of sailing at full speed through iceberg-congested waters in the pitch-black of night, Rostron was reported to have said, "I can only conclude another hand than mine was on the helm."
At times humans believe they are unsinkable. We look at ourselves with light consideration thinking it would take a catastrophe to stop us. But one day, that catastrophe appears, and we find, like those aboard the Titanic, that we're out of lifeboats. We need a rescuer who will pull out all the stops and just get here. We need a Rostron.
On the other hand, if we are the Rostron, our job is more than merely turning up. Rostron acted immediately and wisely. He did the first thing first and quickly thought through the situation with the information he had at hand. Then planned for the worst while at the same time praying as hard as he could.
When we're in those situations, what we don't do is leave it all up to the Lord without engaging our own skills. As we see with Rostron, he knew he was the Lord's hands and feet for that project. He understood how vital his engagement would be, equipped his team, and the rescue was exemplary. To us, our offered help may not resemble Rostron's far-reaching rescue. But to the helpless at the time, it may be exactly that!
Dear Lord, this tragic story could have been worse but for somebody's selfless efforts. Under Your guiding hand, an incredible rescue occurred. More than 100 years later, we easily recall the Titanic yet have never heard of Arthur Rostron. Please help me to be selfless and brave like Rostron, but also humble enough to call out if I'm in trouble.
Photo by Ryan Yao