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Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 15, 1912 - Nearer, My God, To Thee

On April 14, 1912, the impossible and unthinkable happened; the RMS Titanic sank. She was a glorious ship, built so well that she would never sink. Her testimony is one of God's great power over man, as He sank the ship that couldn't be sunk. In the chaos and terror that followed the Titanic's crash into the iceburg, the sound of a hymn could be heard through the screams. "Nearer, My God, To Thee," was played by the ship's band during the final moments before the ship sunk into the icy cold depths of the ocean. I can only imagine the hope it must have given to those who would soon be with Christ. This song must have meant far more to the Christians on board that ship, than I could ever imagine until I reach death's doors.

I can picture it; shivering cold, sitting in a lifeboat, watching as the sparks fly, the people run and scream, the ship slowly sinking lower and lower down into the sea, and yet through the screams and screeching, the sound of this hymn lilts over the water, calming those on board awaiting their certain death. I know this scene has been depicted in films - I've never watched any of them - but, I can see it clearly in my head. If ever there was a time that a simple hymn did wonders, it must have been on board the Titanic. Imagine with me, will you, that you are on board the Titanic, fearful of your certain death, and yet peaceful in the knowledge that you will soon be with God, far nearer to Him than you ever could be on this earth. Now read the words to this hymn...

Nearer, My God, To Thee
By: Sarah F. Adams

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Refrain

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.
Refrain

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.
Refrain

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.
Refrain

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Refrain

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.
Refrain

In Christ,
Kaila

2 comments:

Peter Bringe said...

I just realized that next year will be the centennial of the Titanic. I guess that's one they won't want to reenact. One of my favorite stories of the titanic is one I heard from Bill Potter about the multi-generational story of the Archibald Gracies especially the IV, one of the passengers on the titanic. http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-biography/colonel-archibald-gracie.html

Nearer, My God to Thee was also played after Pickett’s unsuccessful charge on the Union Army’s center at Gettysburg. As survivors fell back to their lines on Seminary Ridge, several Southern soldiers wrote of hearing a Confederate military band playing this hymn.

-Peter Bringe
Deo Vindice

The Babiak Family said...

Yeah, it probably wouldn't be a very good idea to reenact that one! :-)
Thanks for the info on Gettysburg! I did not know Nearer, My God to Thee was played there. It always amazes me how hymns can speak to us in the darkest times of life better than any other thing.
Kaila