Shaped by disaster
It took over 15,000 men to build the ship. The ship Titanic was 882½ feet (269m) long, 92½ feet (28m) wide, weighed over 53,000 tons (53,800t) and had 11 decks. The Titanic cost $7.5 million to build, well over $123 million today. The Titanic’s top speed was 24 knots (which she never reached) which is equivalent to 28 miles per hour (45kph). She was considered unsinkable. The Titanic was originally to have 64 lifeboats on board but they were reduced to 20.
Titanic set sail carrying some 2,200 people -- millionaires, immigrants, 13 honeymoon couples and an eight-man band that played to the bitter end -- and lifeboats for just over half of them. In the end 712 were rescued; the rest drowned or froze in the water. "It was the biggest ship in history, filled with celebrities of that time,"
Anna Turja memoirs
She was 18 years old when she boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England, as a steerage (third class) passenger on her way to America. To her the ship was a floating city. The main deck, with all its shops and attractions, was indeed bigger than the main street in her home town. The atmosphere in third class was quite lively: a lot of talking, singing, and fellowship. She had two roommates on board who were also young Finnish women. One was married, traveling with two small children; the other traveling with her brother. But in steerage, the men were kept in the front part of the ship, the women in the rear. Late that Sunday night, she felt a shudder and a shake. Shortly thereafter, her roommate’s brother knocked on the door and told them that “something was wrong,” that they should wear warm clothing and put on their life jackets. Their little group started heading for the upper decks. A crew member tried to keep them down – ordered them back – but they refused to obey, and he didn’t argue with them. She clearly remembers, however, that the doors were closed and chained shut behind them to prevent others from coming up. The others of the group continued up to a higher deck, “where it will be safer,” they said, but out of pure curiosity and chance she remained on what turned out to be the boat deck. She thought it was too cold to go up further, and she was intrigued by the activity and by the music being played by the band.
she didn’t fully understand what was going on because she did not know the language. Eventually a sailor physically threw her into a lifeboat.
In the Lifeboat
Her lifeboat was fully loaded when it was launched; it was not one of the ones that got caught up in the cables. They immediately rowed away from the ship, fearing that they would get sucked down with it when it went under. The sailors were so well trained, she was sure that they would have capsized had it not been for the expertise of the oarsmen. She heard loud explosions as the lights went out. Her lifeboat was so full that as she held her hand on the edge of the boat her fingers got wet up to the knuckles. For the first five or ten minutes in the water they had to beat people off who were trying to get into the boat. They were in the lifeboats for eight hours. Though the night was a “brilliant, bright night,” they had to burn any scraps of paper they could find -- money or anything else that wouldn’t cause a flash fire -- so that the boats could see each other and stay together. Her most haunting memory was that of the screams and cries of dying people in the water. Every time she would get to this part of the story she would start crying. “They were in the water, and we couldn’t help them.”
The people were wonderful. They gave up their blankets and coats, anything that could help. She kept looking for her roommates, but she never saw either of them again.
As the Titanic slipped beneath the North Atlantic, London-born Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, a dress designer with chic shops in London and New York City, turned to her secretary aboard lifeboat No. 1 and said, "There is your beautiful nightdress gone." Lucy's ill-timed comment, uttered over the screams of 1,500 victims stranded in the water,
J. BRUCE ISMAY, who sketched the first plans for Titanic on a dinner-party napkin, told Captain Smith to rev up the engines to arrive in New York early for publicity's sake --. The chairman of the steam line, then 49, escaped in one of the last lifeboats, leaving behind a shipload of passengers, his butler, his secretary and his reputation. "There were no more passengers on the deck," he insisted later.
"Unsinkable" -- Molly Brown. Loaded into lifeboat No. 6 (capacity:65) with 24 women and two men, Brown, in a black-velvet, two-piece suit, argued fiercely with Quartermaster Robert Hichens, who refused to return to the wreck site for fear survivors in the water would swamp the boat. To fight the bitter cold, Brown taught the other women to row and shared her sable coat. And when Hichens dismissed a flare fired by an approaching ship as a "shooting star," Brown threatened to throw him overboard (although not, as in the 1964 movie musical bearing her name, while waving a pistol). Once in command, she ordered the women to row to safety.
Ida Straus refused at least two opportunities to escape the sinking Titanic, choosing instead to die with her husband of 41 years, Isidor, a well-known philanthropist who owned Macy's department store. News that the couple had shared their fate came as no surprise to their six children and many friends. "When they were apart, they wrote to each other every day," says Joan Adler, director of the Straus Historical Society. "She called him `my darling papa.' He called her `my darling momma.' " For years they had even celebrated their different birthdays on the same day.
As the Titanic went down, Ida, 63, resisted the pleas of officers to climb into a lifeboat, insisting instead that her maid take her place and handing the young woman her fur coat. ("I won't need this anymore," she said). She was finally cajoled into boarding the second-to-last lifeboat, only to clamber out again as Isidor, 67, stepped away. Last seen clasped in an embrace, Ida and Isidor are memorialized in a Bronx cemetery with a monument inscribed, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it."
A shipload of people – suddenly their lives were interrupted. Both those who died and those who lived were shaped in those moments. Existing character was revealed. For those who lived, their lives would forever be changed in one manner or another.
The Lord is at work in each person’s life molding them for ministry. Everything that occurs in life is used by the Lord to transform a person into the image of Christ and to equip a person for ministry to others. This sovereign working of God is part of how he is ‘graced’ for ministry.
The gigantic/titanic changes most often occur in the midst of great disaster.Disappointments, disasters, and defeats are significant moments that the Lord uses to transform and equip. As an example, God used even David’s disappointments, struggles, sins and defeats to make him into one who had one of most profound ministries of any OT character. Shaped by the disaster of his life, He led the nation of Israel as her greatest king. He continues to minister to us as the author of most of the Psalms. The lessons he learned continue to teach us today. Many of those lessons were learned in the midst of pain and disappointment.
Some of those disasters were of his own making (consequences of sin). Some disasters of which he was innocent. But God used both types of disaster to shape David, grow his trust in the Lord, and impact countless lives.
He does this in our lives as well.
(NKJV) Psalm 18 1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David The Servant of the Lord, Who Spoke to the Lord The Words of This Song on the Day that the Lord Delivered Him from the Hand of All His Enemies and from the Hand of Saul.
(NKJV) Psalm 18 4 The pangs of death surrounded me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. 5 The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress
(NKJV) Psalm 18 1 And He Said: I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. … 6 … I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God;
(NKJV) Psalm 18 6 … He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support. 19 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. 20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
(NKJV) Psalm 18 46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted. … 49 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name. 50 Great deliverance He gives to His king, And shows mercy to His anointed, To David and his descendants forevermore.
(NKJV) Psalm 18 27 For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks. 28 For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. 29 For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall. 30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 31 For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?
(NKJV) Psalm 51 1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David When Nathan the Prophet Went to Him, After He Had Gone in to Bathsheba.
(NKJV) Psalm 38 2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply, And Your hand presses me down. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh Because of Your anger, Nor any health in my bones Because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds are foul and festering Because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
(NKJV) Psalm 38 7 For my loins are full of inflammation, And there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
(NKJV) Psalm 51 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—
(NKJV) Psalm 51 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
(NKJV) Psalm 51 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—