My little brother’s new favorite books are the “Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope Osborne. The other day I read aloud to him Book #17: Tonight on the Titanic. The two main characters, Jack and Annie, time travel in the magic treehouse to the Titanic, the night of its sinking. The kids pretty quickly figure out where they are, and (unlike as is the case in most of their adventures) – they already know what’s going to happen.
Quickly, they decide to help people get to the lifeboats. As they make their way to the third-class cabins, Annie shouts warnings to the men playing in the card room. But no one seems to care. As they pass through again, this time leading two other children to safety, Annie tells them again that the ship is sinking.
“Little girl,” one said with a laugh, “Even if this ship does sink, it will take all night. There’s plenty of time to be for everyone on board to be rescued.” (pg. 44).
No one was concerned. After all, the Titanic was unsinkable! The reason for this belief was the huge watertight compartments built into it. But when the ship struck the iceberg, some of the “watertight” compartments filled with water. The very thing that was supposed to bring security proved to be the ship’s downfall.
As I read this sad story to my brother, I was struck by so many parallels to people today.
You have the Christians who, while we haven’t lived in the future like Jack and Annie, know what the “end of the story” is going to be.
And then you have the non-Christians who, like the Titanic’s passengers, are over-confident in their eternal security. Perhaps some believe that they are in danger, but like the man in the story, they think they have plenty of time before they have to leave the comfortableness of their current lives to allow themselves to be rescued. They put too much trust in their youth, or their relative goodness, and don’t realize that such things will not hold up against God’s judgment – any more than the watertight compartments of the Titanic held up against the icy waters of the Atlantic.
And, we, the Christians, know this. We know the ship is sinking. But we also know where the lifeboats are – or should I say, the Lifeboat? We can tell others – not like the Titanic’s men did, calmly bringing the First Class passengers to the top deck as though hardly any danger really existed – but urgently, showing that there is danger, but also a Savior who can rescue everyone – first class, second class, or third class. All are warned. All are given equal opportunity of rescue. And there is a Lifeboat big enough for them all.
Lord, help us to know how we can send the warnings, and lead us to those who will respond to those warnings by climbing aboard Your Lifeboat of Salvation.