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The Titanic had been constructed as the world’s safest ship–an “unsinkable lifeboat,” were the words used by the designers. No one on board that ship ever thought that the great Titanic would lie in the depths of the ocean only three days later. Certainly, there have been shipwrecks of far greater importance, but the sinking of the Titanic has captured the thinking of men with a singular fascination that is unique among the marine records of ships and sailing–possibly because of the foolhardiness and the folly of the whole thing–a ship that could not be sunk. Indeed.
Numerous warnings went unheeded! At 9:00 A.M. on that fateful Sunday morning, the steamer Caronia sputtered a message into the wireless radio room of the Titanic. It read: “Captain, Titanic–westbound steamers report berg growlers and field ice…” At least five messages of warning reached the ship, but yet it plowed on through the murky waters of the Atlantic, full speed ahead. Then about 11:30 P.M. an eerie, mountainous chunk of ice, 90% submerged under water, came looming up out of the dark. There was a sudden clang of the ship’s bell. Then there was a slight shock and a small list to port. Shell ice fell on the deck. That was the death blow to the ship that could not be sunk.
But was it really an iceberg which sank the ship? On second thought, though, I am not at all sure it was an iceberg that sank the Titanic. The real killer of those nine hundred who died was overconfidence. Lifeboats with a capacity of 65 were lowered from the ship with only twenty-eight people in them. As the ship was sinking the band played ragtime and the crew shot fireworks into the sky to entertain the guests, but eventually the Titanic sank. The death of that grand ship should forever be a warning to each of us–overconfidence is one of life’s greatest enemies.
Do you know, friend, that the Bible repeatedly warns against overconfidence? Remember Paul’s exhortation, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). The Bible warns against putting your confidence in people, even in weapons, in military strength–even in government, but it tells us that confidence in your God will never be betrayed. Question: Where is your confidence–in your money, in your influence, in your ability to make things happen? Eventually those aboard the Titanic realized that the only sustaining confidence could be in God Himself. Ragtime music changed to “Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee.”
Nearly three thousand years before the Titanic ever sailed, the Psalmist penned these words, “It is better to put trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” “The Lord is my strength and my song and my salvation” (Psalm 118:14). Overconfidence in human ability is a dangerous enemy–make sure your confidence is in God. He is the only one who won’t let you down.