Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tiatanic Calmness?

Why do many people seem so calm in light of God's coming judgment upon this earth?  I'm sure many answers could be offered up.  However, there was something I read today from NPR, an article concerning the sinking of the Titanic , that set me to thinking:

As the Titanic was sinking and women and children climbed into lifeboats, the cellist and violinist from the ship's band stood and played. They died when the ship went down. Men stood on the deck and smoked cigars. They died, too.

This behavior is puzzling to economists, who like to believe that people tend to act in their own self interest.

  "There was no pushing and shoving," says David Savage, an economist and Queensland University in Australia who has studied testimony from the survivors. It was "very, very orderly behavior."

Savage has compared the behavior of the passengers on the Titanic with those on the Lusitania, another ship that also sunk at about the same time.

But when the Lusitania went down, the passengers panicked.

There were a lot of similarities between these two events. These  ships were both luxury liners, they had a similar number of passengers and a similar number of survivors.

The biggest difference, Savage concludes, was time. The Lusitania sank in less than 20 minutes. The Titanic took two and a half hours..

"If you've got an event that lasts two and a half hours, social order will take over and everybody will behave in a social manner," Savage says. "If you're going down in under 17 minutes, basically it's instinctual."

The writer seems to be suggesting that the longer the time span building up to the event, people will be more inclined to behave in a social manner – "a very, very orderly manner."  But perhaps this is the proverbial calm before the storm.

This may at least be one answer as to why many seem so calm; so unconcerned in spite of the scriptural warnings of God's judgment. (The Titanic received 6 iceberg warnings).  I must say there was certainly a time in my life when I lived quite comfortably with the wrath of God hanging over me.

But I was misinterpreting the delay – something the Scriptures warn us not to do:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

I'm almost certain – in fact I'm absolutely certain – that if I had been on the Titanic, and did not have a seat on a lifeboat, I would not have been calm.

There is, however, one reason that a person could remain calm in the face of the coming judgment of God.  That is, by having a guaranteed deliverance from judgment.  This is exactly what God graciously offers in Jesus.  In fact, to believe Jesus is to trust Him for the deliverance that God offers through Him.

Might there be a false calm and a real calm?

Pastor Van


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