•  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The 16,000 ton tanker "British Sportsman" was berthed at an oil dock in Antwerp, Belgium. Her cargo, three million gallons of crude oil from Kuwait on the Persian Gulf, had just been unloaded. Preparatory for her return journey and to make the vessel easier to handle on the high seas, the emptied oil tanks were being filled with water for ballast.
It was miserable weather in late fall. The air was beginning to turn cold and leaden clouds dropped their loads of moisture with annoying frequency as they passed. A welcome sight it was when the sun came out occasionally.
After supper one evening some of the crew planned to stay aboard, and made themselves comfortable in their cabins. The others were preparing to go ashore when a sudden storm struck. Almost immediately a light shower became a downpour. The hitherto few gusts of wind blew stronger, and doors aboard ship slammed shut as it whistled through the passage-ways. It seemed that instantly a howling gale was blowing.
Suddenly and without warning there was a sound of grinding metal. The ship gave a lurch. People on the dock and some aboard ship began to shout. One of the deck-hands ran through the vessel crying out: "ALL HANDS ON DECK!"
Everyone from the captain down came running. The ship had broken her mooring lines and was drifting helplessly. Four large unattached cables and numerous broken ropes hung loosely down the sides of the ship. Her engines were in the process of being overhauled. Thus, having no power of her own and no firm attachment whatever, she soon was blown about a quarter of a mile out from her berth.
The captain hastily ordered anchors to be let down. When the winches holding the anchor-cables stopped whirring, we knew that the massive iron weights had struck bottom. But would they hold? Only if they could stop the heavy ship from drifting was she safe from following her helpless, dangerous course.
What a picture this is of every child of Adam! Man, woman, boy or girl, the whole human race was born in sin. Out of control, we drift toward destruction. Like this ship, we have no power within ourselves to work our own salvation. Nothing within us can prevent our going to a lost eternity.
Before the "British Sportsman" could be safe and secure, the anchor, useless while lying on the ship's deck, had to be let down into the ocean to secure the vessel. Only when it was dropped overboard, outside the ship, and was safely held in the water's depths was it of any use in saving the boat.
How this typifies the need of every lost soul! Not by our own doings can we be saved. Our faith must be in a sure place outside ourselves—in Christ. He is the mighty Anchor that can never fail those who put their trust in Him. Will you trust Him?