Jesus Savior, Pilot Me

Scripture:  Matthew 8:26 – Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?  Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.

The hymn “Jesus Savior, Pilot Me was written especially for sailors -- using words that they were familiar with --  chart, compass, and the need for a competent pilot to guide them over the tempestuous seas.  Edward Hopper was born in New York on February 17, 1818.  His father was a merchant, and his mother was a descendant of the Huguenots, the persecuted French Protestants.  In 1870, he began the most fruitful phase of his ministry when he became pastor of a church in New York harbor known as the “Church of Sea and Land”.  There he ministered most effectively for the remaining years of his life to the many sailors who made their way to and from their ships.  It was while ministering at his sailor’s mission that Edward Hopper wrote this hymn especially for the spiritual needs of these sea-faring men.  He wrote it anonymously, as he did all of his works.  For some time no one ever knew that the pastor of the sailors was also the author of the sailors’  favorite hymn.  Jesus Savior Pilot Me has been included in nearly every evangelical hymnal published unto the present time.  Through the years it has been a hymn that is especially meaningful to young people sincerely concerned about knowing God’s will for their lives.  At the age of seventy-two, Edward Hopper’s prayer expressed in the third stanza of his hymn had its complete fulfillment when he died in 1888.  He was found sitting in his study chair, pencil in hand, writing a new poem on the subject of heaven.  (This hymn history is from the Then Sings My Soul Hymn Stories)

The words to the hymn are as follows:
Jesus Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treach’rous shoal;
Chart and compass come from Thee –Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the oceanwile;
Boisterious waves obey Thy will, when Thou say’st to them,”Be still”.
Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, 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”.

What jumps out to me from that hymn is:  Firstly, we must learn to place our confidence consistently in the pilot of our lives -- Jesus Christ as He guides us through tempestuous seas.  After all, Jesus Christ has authority over nature (Matthew 8:26).  We can trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).  He will help us overcome our fears/doubts. (Isaiah 43:1-2 - But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.)  (Psalms 27:1 - The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?) (Psalms 56:3-4 - Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.4  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.What can flesh do to me?) (Romans 8:15 - For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”)

Secondly, there will be storms and waves that at times may seem overwhelming, but we must have assurance that the Lord is still in control.  He is sovereign.  (Psalms 135:6  )  (Isaiah 46:10 -  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’ )  (Ephesians 1:11 - In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.)  (James 4:15 - Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” )  (Revelation 4:11 - You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” )

Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ will safely lead us to our heavenly home.  (John 14:1-3 - Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.)

Dear Heavenly Father:  Thank you for piloting us, guiding us, protecting us, teaching us throughout this Christian journey/life.  Help us to follow Your lead and not give up when the storms of life are overwhelming us.

(by Marsha Williams)

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