The crew worked all night trying to save the ship. The masts were struck and pumps were worked manually. A fishing boat named Nancy came to help. Admiral Totty boarded her with a few crew members, evidently the youngest, but at daybreak on March 17, the Invincible sank. A few were picked up in the lifeboats, but out of 590, 400 died in the sea, including Captain Rennie. For days the bodies washed up on shore. They were picked up by the wagonload and buried in a mass grave next to the local church.
Long ago, the ancient Christian church was symbolized by a boat, a refuge for Christians from the storms of life, even though that actual metaphor is nowhere to be found. Still, it makes a valid point. Where should we go but to the Lord and our brethren when the storm strikes, and who should we expect help from but the Lord by means of his spiritual body? You can also make some excellent points on the fact that the symbol was a working boat, where a crew worked together as a team, each doing his own part, not a cruise ship where the passengers come to be fed, served, and entertained!
The scriptures themselves use that metaphor rarely. Even the text you might think of among the first, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering, Heb 2:10, is not about a ship's captain as later translations make apparent. The word simply means "leader," one blazing the way, according to Vine's and Robertson's Word Pictures.
But the metaphor is there if you look for it. Here is an obvious one: We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, (Heb 6:19).
But others are simply allusions, and these allusions are apt to our historical entry for the day—shipwreck. …until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph 4:13-14)
"Tossed to and fro" means to be agitated. "Carried about" means to be whirled as if not anchored. When we are immature in our faith, when we have not worked to grow and become spiritually strong, we are ripe for the picking by the Devil. Any stress in our lives can wreck our ship.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (Jas 1:6) In this verse it is the water itself that is tossed, but it only takes a moment to extrapolate what that sort of water would do to a boat. When our faith is not solid, when it wavers with doubt, our ship is likely to sink.
And that leads us to the most obvious one: This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (1Tim 1:18-19). That is not just a nautical fender-bender. The word there, according to Robertson means to break a ship to pieces. When you throw overboard your fidelity to the cause and your conscience, the whole thing is bashed to smithereens on the rocks, the shoals, and the waves. You are done for. If it makes us think just for a second before we give in to even one little temptation, maybe we can avoid the crash and keep our souls intact.
This world is just like the Haisbro Sand and the North Sea—treacherous. Don't be one of those poor drowned souls stacked in a wagon and tossed into a mass grave. Use your anchor, grow your faith, and keep your conscience pure.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:23)