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Taking God at His word
On 10 April, 1912 the ocean liner Titanic, with 2,224 passengers and crew on board, set sail from Southampton to New York. The ship was considered by those responsible for its construction as ‘unsinkable’. Four days later, on the evening of 14 April, the ship was struck by an iceberg. News of this development was wired to the White Star Line shipping company (which owned the Titanic and which was based in the US) and later that evening at around 22.30, the Vice President of WSL returned to his company’s office. He issued a statement to the press who, having heard the news, had gathered outside the WSL office. He said this:
"There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable.”
It was a bold prediction but it was made with all the understanding and all the limitations that one might expect from a human source. Yet, in spite of this, the Vice President was taken at his word.
Sadly, a few hours later the ship sank with the loss of over 1,500 lives. The news was received, throughout the US in particular, with a combination of disbelief, anger and confusion. Questions were asked in the public enquiry conducted by the US Senate, which followed days later. How could they … how could we have got this so badly wrong? 1,500 dead on an ‘unsinkable’ ship now buried … in the ocean?
Someone once said, that ‘In the theatre of confusion, knowing the location of the exit is what counts.’ If this is correct, then let us consider the following questions: To what or to whom do we turn, when confusion reigns? Where do we go, when our hopes or expectations have been shattered?
This Easter, we are reminded that there was also confusion and deep disappointment amongst Jesus’ followers and friends, after His execution on the Friday. Yet, prior to this, Scripture (and Jesus’ own words to His disciples) stated clearly that His death would be a temporary thing. Yet, in spite of this, these assurances were largely ignored and God was not taken at His word.
This Easter, the risen Lord Jesus reminds us again that, in all the uncertainty and unpredictability of life, we can trust Him with every area of our lives and with every concern. The crucified Saviour spoke ‘peace’ into the lives of His disciples when He appeared to them on the Sunday. He had earned the right to do so - when He rose from the dead.
Today, with great love, He reassures us that we can trust Him with the present and the future, and we can take Him at His word.
Alwyn Webb (24 April 2017)
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