Sunday, April 15, 2012
The Titanic Story You Have Not Heard
April 15, 1912, the “unsinkable” Titanic, on its maiden voyage struck an ice burg in the Atlantic Ocean, pulling 1500 souls to a watery grave.
You have read stories and viewed movies depicting that fateful voyage. You have heard of John Jacob Astor IV, the richest man in America at the time. You knew about the “Unsinkable Molly Brown.” You were aware that the string quartet played “Nearer My God to Thee” as the vessel went down.
The story you may never have heard is about a preacher, a Scotsman, on his way to Chicago to accept the pastorate of the Moody Church. Pastor D.L. Moody was succeeded by A.C. Dixon up until 1912, when Rev. John Harper, a widower, along with his niece and 6 year old daughter, boarded the grand vessel for the transatlantic journey to America.
Having pastored churches in London and Glasgow, Rev. Harper was a preacher’s preacher. Gifted in his ability to move audiences with the preaching of God’s Word, Moody Church anxiously awaited the arrival that would never come.
Tragically, an ice burg gashed the hull of the mighty ship and changed the course of history. Harper seized the opportunity to plead with the frenzied passengers to accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior.
He safely placed his charges in lifeboats, but counted not his life dear unto himself as he went from one to another bidding them to be saved. He called out, “Women, children and the unsaved to the lifeboats.” A lost man refused the offer of safety, so Harper gave him his own life vest, stating, “You need this more than I do.”
As the ship sunk, Harper braved the frigid waters to swim from one piece of debris to another asking those who were clinging to the flotsam to trust Christ. This he did until he succumbed to an icy death.
A reunion of the survivors four years later in Canada revealed the testimony of one man who initially refused Harper’s plea for salvation, but upon the pastor’s return, he accepted Christ as his own. He testified “I am the last convert of John Harper.”
A few lessons are evident as we consider this account.
1. There is no boat that God cannot sink. It was bragged before the Titanic sailed, “Not even God could sink her!” Oops!!! Remember, it was professionals who built the Titanic, Noah and his boys built the ark. There is safety only in the Ark of Jesus. No other boat is seaworthy when they sail on the perilous waves of life.
2. There is no soul God cannot save. This is why Pastor Harper was adamant about telling each person he could of the saving grace offered by Jesus.
3. There is no time when God cannot save. Up until the last breath of earthly life is drawn, any person, young or old, may trust Him.
4. There is no witness that God will not bless.
5. There is no soul winner that God will not reward. Dan. 12:3
Let us be as avid in our soul winning fervor as was the never-to-be pastor of the Moody Church, John Harper.