Encouraging Truths for Senior Living: Pilot Abroad

Practical devotional thoughts written by Eddie Gibbs, Atherton Resident since 2011

Psalm 48:14

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Questions for reflection:

  • Am I daily honoring Jesus as the ever-present Captain and Pilot of my life?
  • Is there a particularly challenging issue I am facing where I need to rest in His all-capable hands?


Thought for today:
My wife and I have just returned from a one-week cruise on the Mexican Riviera. At each port of call we watched a harbor launch come alongside to bring on board a pilot to navigate the ship safely into harbor. A modern cruise ship, despite its enormous size and 15 decks is amazingly maneuverable.

As I thought about the skill of the pilot I remembered a chorus we sang as children in Sunday school,

Do you want a pilot signal then to Jesus.
Do you want a pilot bid him come aboard.
And he will safely guide
Across the ocean wide
Until we reach at last the heavenly harbor.

But there is a significant difference between what we had been observing from our vantage point on deck and that chorus. In the song the pilot is on board ship the entire time, whereas the pilot we observed only came aboard an hour or so as the ship approached the harbor. While at sea, it was the captain on the bridge who was in command.  Had the chorus got it wrong in emphasizing the pilot’s continuing presence in guiding the ship “across the ocean wide”? Evidently not, for when the apostle Paul was sailing as a prisoner across the eastern Mediterranean to Rome, he sensed danger looming. It was already late in the sailing season when the sailing ships hastened to shelter in port during the approaching stormy season. “So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also. But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.” (Acts 27:10,11) The pilot was also the captain and was at the helm at all times, whether they were out to sea or hugging the shore. Both presented danger to a first century sailing ship.

Many people only want the pilot aboard to guide them and come to their rescue during times of danger, or when a situation is too difficult to handle alone. When we place our lives in Jesus Christ’s capable hands and bow to his superior knowledge it is for our entire life’s journey. He is the Captain and the Pilot to whom we can give unceasing trust and unquestioned loyalty. He deserves nothing less, and we can choose nothing better.