Select Page

Dr. Robert Bateman gently helped his sister-in-law into the lifeboat. “Don’t be nervous, Annie. This will test our faith. I must stay and help the others. If we never meet again on this earth, we will meet again in heaven.” Bateman dropped his handkerchief to the woman as the boat dropped toward the dark, icy water below. “Put that around your throat, Annie. You’ll catch cold.”

Dr. Bateman then gathered about fifty men at the stern of the ship and told them to prepare for death. Earlier that day, he had conducted the only religious service on the large ship, a service that ended with his favorite hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Robert Bateman had founded the Central City Mission in Jacksonville, Florida, a spiritual lighthouse in a city regularly full of drunken sailors. He had been called “the man who distributes more human sunshine than any other in Jacksonville.” Bateman went to England to study Christian social work and was returning to the United States to put into practice what he had learned.

However, late on the night of April 14, 1912, Bateman’s ship struck an iceberg. Bateman led the men with him on the stern of the ship in the Lord’s Prayer. As the band played “Nearer My God to Thee,” the great ship Titanic slid under the waves.

It is said that one sure way to make God laugh is to tell him our plans! When we accept Christ, we are embarking on the greatest adventure of our lives. In order to make the journey worthwhile, we must surrender ourselves to his command—the captain of the ship. He orchestrates our life’s journey as he sees fit, navigating through our whims and wants toward greater goals. At times, even the worst of times, his map seems antiquated and we wonder if he has lost his way. Jagged rocks jut out from the murky depths. The moonless night envelops us in its darkness. How tempted we become at that moment to resume control of our life’s plans. The voyage is a venture in faith, however, if it is anything at all. God’s plans for our lives steer us in directions we might never choose for ourselves. Yet he knows best.

Story from our daily devotional book. For more info go to