I was watching a documentary on the sinking by German torpedo of the Lusitania in 1915. Apart from the tragedy of all such disasters what struck me most were the different attitudes and schemes people tried to save themselves with.
The first difficulty was getting out on deck. Often trying to get through milling crowds of panicking people. This was made difficult by the increased listing of the ship and darkness when the electricity failed. Some were left trapped in the ship.
Even lowering the lifeboats was nearly impossible due to the angle the ship was at. Many boats landed in the water upside down and people had to cling to them in freezing water. Those already in the water had to contend with people jumping on top of them as well as debris and cold.
Th e documentary said that rescue ships was a great while coming because other ships were worried about being torpedoed as well but I read elsewhere that many lifeboat crews hurried to the scene. The sad thing was that unlike the Titanic, the Lusitania was well with in sight of land but just to far for the passengers to swim.
How many are perishing spiritually today well within site of the way of salvation? How many are rejecting Christ’s saving hand because o9f their love of sin?
In the midst of the prevailing tragedy there were miraculous stories of survival. One little boy separated from his family was given up as lost. After searching through the recovered bodies, a man told them that a little boy from the wreck was in the local hospital and they found it was their missing child with no more than a broken leg.
Many of the plans the passengers on sinking ships make for saving themselves come to nothing. While others were saved by good fortune and chance.
In the great plan of Salvation from the wrath to come no human shifts and schemes will avail anything. No man made religions will count for anything at last. They will prove finally to lifeboats full of holes. Neither will anyone be saved by luck.
To make a mistake here is finally fatal.
It is the way of Salvation won through the cross of Jesus Christ that brings the only sure deliverance from death and hell. Christ must be believed and and clung to. Everything else is delusion and doomed to fail.
While others may sneer at God’s provided way of salvation, may we reach for the saving hand reached out to us and be thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for suffering in our stead.
“One of the consequences of sin is that it makes the sinner pity himself instead of causing him to turn to God. One of the first signs of new life is that the individual takes sides with God against himself.”
― Donald Grey Barnhouse
22 It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23 Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24 The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. 25 Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them.
This story from the book of Jeremiah was made very vivid to me by an old Sunday school lesson book I found.
Jeremiah had foretold the terrible consequences of the forsaking the ways of the Lord by the King, religious and civil leaders and the people. Baruch had written all these prophecies down at Jeremiah’s dictation. Then because the prophet himself was not allowed to go to the temple, Baruch took the scroll to the temple and read it publicly there.
When the officials heard this they had Baruch read it again to them and after telling him to hide they took it to the king and read it in his presence.
In his contempt for the Word of God, Jehioakim sliced off each portion as it was read and burned it in the fire brazier that lay before him.
Even the officials were horrified at this deed but the king was unmoved.
Later Jeremiah was told to re write the prophecy again with more threats of imminent destruction added.
Sad to say there is a lot of slicing up and throwing in the fire of God’s word today .But it will always remain true and its threats as well as its promises will come to the pass.
God help us to respect and obey His Word.
I wonder how many people’s lives are blighted by lack of income and opportunity. The homeless, the unemployed and the mentally ill are just some who fall through the cracks in today’s society. Many have a great deal to contribute but either do not have opportunities, do not grasp them while they have them.
As Dickens makes Samuel Weller say about prisoners in the Fleet debtor’s prison, that to some debtors their time in the Fleet is just like a holiday, but for those who would work if they could and have families to support it is too harsh.
While we all feel sorry for those less fortunate than ourselves, we cannot help sometimes being glad it is them and not us.
The current economic downturn in the west shows we are not immune from the depravation of hardship. True we are not in the gutter or rubbish dump like the poverty we see in third world countries, yet it is only a question of degree.
I think that the leaders and more prosperous in this country for one and the west in general are fast coming to the mantra of “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.”
The dilemma for the Christian is we would like to do something but are at a loss to know what to do and where to direct those we meet in need for help.
I confess I do not have the answers but we should still attempt to find them.