Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me
Adapted from a sermon by Peter Shee—Singapore
Jesus, Saviour, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal;
Chart and compass came from Thee:
Jesus, Saviour, pilot me.[i]
Life is comparable to sailing. We
are sailing a bitter sea. Bitter, because there are many difficulties and
dangers along our way. We may hit an iceberg; we may meet with a storm or we
may get lost due to lack of orientation. For this reason we need Jesus to
safely pilot us to shore.
Sailing is very dangerous. Titanic
was thought to be safe and unsinkable. Some people thought that even God could
not sink that ship. But the very first time Titanic set sail, it collided with
an iceberg and sank.
Whether our ship of life will be able to reach the shore safely is still a
PATHS IN THE SEA
Did you know that there are paths
in the sea? It is true that we cannot see these paths, but they are there, for
God personally created them.
You have made [man] to have dominion over the works of Your
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen--
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas. (Ps 8:6-8)
The sea of our life also contains
a path for us to walk on, which God has already prepared long ago. Although we
may not see this path, we can find it very quickly.
If we are able to find Jesus, we will find our direction and path in life. He
is the path that leads to eternal life. He is the path that leads us to the
shore. For the Lord Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John
Since God created the paths in the
sea, it is only logical that “chart and compass came from [Him]”, and that He
is able to pilot us over life’s tempestuous sea.
If we walk in the path that God
has prepared for us, He will help us to avoid the “hiding rock and treach’rous
shoal”, i.e. things that can kill us spiritually; for only God knows the paths
in the sea.
Paul understood this very well:
And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve
me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! (2 Tim
JESUS’ TOOLS OF NAVIGATION
So what does it mean to be piloted
It means that we have to follow
the Lord Jesus in the paths of righteousness.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The path of righteousness is not
an easy one. If we are determined to lead godly lives, we need to go through
tribulations and sufferings. In fact, the path of righteousness leads through
the valley of the shadow of death. Yet, Jesus uses His rod and staff to comfort
and pilot us.
A shepherd uses his rod and staff to keep his flock together, so that none of
his sheep will get lost. If a sheep is about to go astray, he will use his rod
or staff to hook its neck or even hit and poke it. In this way the sheep will
feel pain and subsequently, return to the flock. The shepherd’s intention is
not to hurt the sheep but to bring it back, for the real pain lies in going
Today, Jesus guides us in like manner. But why do we have to suffer?
Psalms tells us that suffering benefits us, for “[b]efore I was afflicted I
went astray, But now I keep Your word” (Psalm 119:67).
So the Lord’s rod and staff are
His tools of navigation to ensure that we do not go astray.
As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boist’rous waves obey Thy will
When Thou say’st to them, “Be still”;
Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea,
Jesus, Saviour, pilot me. [ii]
TRUSTING IN JESUS TO CALM OUR HEARTS
Sometimes while boisterous waves
are raging outside, there may be even more frightening waves inside our hearts.
However, if we have faith, we will not be afraid.
Look at Peter—by faith he was able to walk on the sea. But when he focused on
the boisterous waves, he was afraid and began to sink.
Without faith, even a small matter
will be a big wave to us. When the Israelites were just one footstep away from
the promised land, they did not have enough faith to enter it. Due to their
fear, the giants in the land of Canaan appeared much bigger than they were—a
small wave that looked like a big tsunami.
For this reason, we need to rely on Jesus’ words. If we do so, we will be like
a child, resting very assuredly in its mother’s bosom.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
From this time forth and forever. (Ps 131:2-3)
We also need to believe that Jesus
is the Lord, God Almighty – the Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea. Only He is able
to give us true peace and to calm our hearts, no matter what winds and waves,
external dangers or internal sorrows may arise.
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.” [iii]
GOD’S LOVE WILL LEAD US TO THE SHORE
A certain song says that life is
beautiful only, if there is a shore.
In fact, life is like a bitter sea, which we are sailing. For this reason we
need to look towards the shore—the beautiful shore of our heavenly home.
Only then will we have a goal in life. Only then will life be beautiful.
Although fearful breakers will
roar and try to separate us from the peaceful shore that we are trying to
reach, we need not fear. Instead, we can assuredly lean on Jesus.
Who is this coming up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her
beloved? (Song 8:5)
It is the Shulamite, Solomon’s
beloved wife, representing the church – you and me.
She is named after Solomon himself, whose name means peace.
Solomon named the Shulamite after himself because he loved her as his own body.
This act prefigures the love between Christ and us, His church.
Since God’s love for us is so deep, nothing can separate us from His love.
Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it.
So if we lean on Jesus’ breast, we
will not only find peace but we will also enjoy His love and protection.
Leaning on His breast, we will peacefully pass through those fearful wild waves
of life until we safely reach the beautiful shore. For this reason, the
Shulamite says, “Then I became in his eyes as one who found peace” (Song 8:10).
NO MORE SEA
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven
and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (Rev 21:1)
In the end, when the new heaven
and new earth appears, the sea will be no more, i.e. things that used to
trouble us will cease to exist. So, leaning on Jesus’ breast, we will be able
to cross the boisterous sea … until the sea is no more and we remain in the
arms of Jesus forever.