April 10, 1912 was a day like no other. It was the day of the maiden voyage of the Titanic, the ship that was called unsinkable. She was acclaimed as the safest ship ever built. So safe, that she carried only 20 lifeboats – enough to provide accommodation for only half her 2,200 passengers and crew. Four days into her journey, at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg. Her fireman compared the sound of the impact to “the tearing of calico, nothing more.” However, the collision was fatal and the icy water soon poured through the ship.
The great ship slowly slid beneath the waters two hours and forty minutes after the collision. The next morning, the liner Carpathia rescued 705 survivors. One thousand, five hundred and twenty-two passengers and crew were lost. Subsequent inquiries attributed the high loss of life to an insufficient number of lifeboats and inadequate training in their use. The Titanic never arrived at her destination.*
Israel once had a king who built a fleet of ships that were purposed to bring in gold from Ophir in South-western Arabia. Jehoshaphat’s ships were perhaps built by the best of shipbuilders. They were intended to boost the economy of his kingdom but in some way the fleet was wrecked and it never fulfilled its mission.
Until a later account in the second book of Chronicles, we are not told of the cause of the shipwreck. Probably they were dashed by a storm against the rocks which lie jagged ranges on each side. Some factors that account for the breaking of ships include the fact that they could have been built of light flimsy materials which could not withstand the hit against rocks in the face of a raging storm. The strongest lasts the longest. A bubble is easily blown as it easily bursts. They could also have been built of unsound timber- worthless or rotten.
We are told in the later account of this story that God broke Jehoshaphat’s ship because he entered into alliance with the unbelieving king Ahaziah.
God has built us like ships for a purpose. We are headed for a destination and it is God’s desire that we depart from the harbour, set sail and fulfil our missions. Sadly, many people have ended like the Titanic and Jehoshaphat’s ships- they had a promising future but ended up at the depth of life’s seabed. Reasons for these shipwrecks abound and it is important for us to understand the gravity of this matter so that we can labour in the place of prayer to God who alone can keep us from shipwrecking.
There is the question of the quality of our makeup. Jesus described the story of two builders who embarked on building two different structures. One of them chose to lay a good foundation while the other ignored the necessity. The storms came and while the first remained standing, the other fell like a pack of cards. Storms of life will come in the pursuit of our purpose. It is adversity that proves the worth of our potentials. How we would fare depends on the foundation upon which we have been built and the calibre of the timber we are made of. Is your life built on the foundation of God’s Word? Is the timber with which you are built not sin-eaten?
Then, the issue of our alliances. What can be said of your association? Would you not rather become wise by walking with the wise than hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces?
You have been beautifully and wonderfully made by a very creative maker and you were made to set sail. Watch your association; let God make you. He does not promise a smooth ride. The storms will come but we are assured of a safe landing.