James 3:4 – Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. (NKJV)
During the last week of February and the first week of March, we were on a Caribbean cruise. I am not at all nautically inclined, but I was fascinated by the maritime activities in the various ports that we visited. When we left our port of embarkation on the evening of the first day, it was dark and we were getting settled in, so I did not witness the activities at that time, but gradually the ship headed out to the open waters, and we were on our way.
At one point, we encountered some really stormy weather and rough seas; there were high waves and strong winds. The big cruise ship was even affected by it to some extent, and parts of the deck were roped off for safety reasons. As we approached our destination for that day, a small boat came alongside, and a pilot jumped onto the hanging ladder, climbed aboard through a door in the side of the ship, and went to the bridge to guide us into the harbour. I read that ship navigation has many challenges, but those challenges multiply when entering a harbour or a port. Pilots know the area and have a mental map of underwater dangers, water depth, currents, and tides. Pilots are there to advise the captain about speed and direction. I used to think that pilots took over completely, but that is not the case, except for going through the Panama Canal.
As we left the stormy waters and entered the safe harbour, I thought: that is a lot like life, isn't it? There are storms of different kinds in all our lives, and quite often, we try to cope as best we can. But then, it is time to call on our Pilot, Jesus, to guide us.
The psalmist David knew this; he called on God to guide him:
Psalm 31:3 – For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me. (NKJV)
When we call on Jesus, He will guide us. There is a hymn by Edward Hopper which describes this so well:
- Jesus, Saviour, pilot me
Over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee;
Jesus, Saviour, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar
'Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on Thy breast,
May I hear Thee say to me,
"Fear not, I will pilot thee."
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we face the different storms of life, we pray that we will always call on You to guide us safely through. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.