Salvations from the Sinking Ship
Posted on September 20, 2018 by America's Keswick in Victory Call
Have you ever heard the story of the Titanic passenger John Harper? I recently came across some articles on him, and while they all differ on minor details (which makes sense because this is a ‘through the grapevine’ story), this is an amazing, factual story of faith that I so wanted to share with you.
John Harper was a true hero on the ship that horrific night. He was a widower who was travelling to America with his 6 year old daughter to preach at Moody Church in Chicago. The night that the ship struck the iceberg, he wrapped his daughter in a blanket, placed her safely on a lifeboat, and sprang into action.
As the ship was sinking down into its watery grave, he didn’t wait in line for a lifeboat, nor did he start rioting. Instead, he ran up to anyone and everyone he could find amidst the chaos, desperately asking them if they knew Jesus. I could only imagine how many people must have come to faith that night through Harper’s witness.
Some survivors on the boat testified that there was one man who, upon being asked if he knew Jesus Christ, admonished Harper. Harper responded by removing his life jacket from around his own shoulders and handing it to the man, saying ‘You need this more than I do.’
As women and children were piling into lifeboats, he – knowing most of the ship’s passengers would perish – started pleading “women, children, and the unsaved to the lifeboats!” Afterward, he willingly jumped into the icy cold water and began swimming to anyone he could, asking them if they knew Jesus Christ as their personal savior. If they said no, he would muster up all of his strength (as he was very weak and, in fact, dying) and share the way to salvation.
The good news is that his attempts were fruitful, both on the boat and off. Take George Henry Cavell, for example. He was in the icy, frigid waters, clinging on to some driftwood when the dying and struggling John Harper swam to him and asked, ‘Are you saved?’ The man responded ‘No’ and Harper, quoting Acts 16:31, said ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’ Soon after, Harper drifted away but the current brought him back to Cavell a little while later. He asked again ‘Are you saved?’ Cavell responded ‘No, I can’t say that I am.’ Harper responded by quoting Acts 16:31 again. Moments later, Harper sank down into the waters and died, but Cavell was saved – both spiritually and physically. He was picked up by a rescue ship after being in the water for nearly an hour. Later, he testified that he was ‘John Harper’s last convert.’
This story of faith, service, courage, and Christian love lit a fire in me, and got me pumped up for the Great Commission. I want my faith to look like that. I want to be just as desperate in my attempts to share Jesus as Harper was that dreadful night. I want to be so willing to give up my figurative life jacket and jump into icy waters if that’s how God uses me to lead unbelievers to himself. I want to use my last, dying breaths to desperately share Christ with those who are lost. Harper was a young, fit man. He could have fought, rioted, and tried to save himself – but he responded to disaster in the most unselfish and Godly way he could; just as I believe Jesus would respond. I can only imagine him walking through the gates and hearing ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ Hopefully this story lights a fire in you too! Let’s share Jesus today!
Erin Culleny serves as a Marketing Assistant and Staff Writer. She loves encouraging women through her Victory Calls and finds such joy in praying for her sisters in Christ. Her favorite activities include reading her Bible, encouraging others with scripture, buying new makeup, buying dresses, and eating at the Cheesecake Factory… In that order!
Daily Quote: “God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.” – George Whitefield
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him. Isaiah 8:17