Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trying to Catch Fish at Night

I just finished reading John chapter 21 and was struck by the disciples' fishing adventure. It would take awhile to type it all here, so I've decided to place a link instead. Take a few minutes and read the chapter, in particular verses 1-11.

John 21

Here's a quick wrap up and the lesson I took away from this story. Simon Peter decides he wants to go fishing, at night. Honestly, I don't know much about fishing, but at night strikes me as a odd time to fish. I believe most people go early morning, when "the fish are biting". He says that he's going fishing and the others with him decide to go too. So the seven of them get in to boat and set out to fish. Presumably they would be fishing for quite awhile, but they caught nothing. They head back to shore, when the morning had come.

Standing on the shore is Jesus. He's just waiting for them. He asks if they have any food and to their answer of "no", He tells them to cast their net to the right of the boat. They catch so much fish that they can't pull the net into the boat, instead they have to pull it onto shore. Once on shore, Peter, who jumped out of the boat early, drags this fish net up on shore. Interestingly, the seven of them couldn't lift the net into the boat, but just Peter pulled it on shore. Then the question and answer session between Jesus and Peter begins.

Okay, now that the wrap up is done, here's my take away. In our own timing and strength we set out to do something. We strive and cast out our "nets" and the results usually end up with nothing, or worse. Jesus shows up in the right time, and gives us instructions, when we follow them, the results are overflowing, they are abundant. We can't even lift them up and place them into our "boat", but God gives us the strength to pull them to where they should be.

Too many times I have felt like I was floundering (no pun intended) in the dark. I get anxious and restless, so I do something, anything to try to make something happen. As I struggle to try and make something happen, I don't feel less anxious, but more and I certainly don't find rest. The results are usually nothing, but sometimes the results are something negative and painful. I'm finally exhausted from all my struggling to make it happen and give up. Once I give up, morning breaks and Jesus is there. Notice in the story from John 21, He doesn't ask them why they went out fishing at night. He doesn't scold them for trying to do everything in their own strength. He asked if they have any food, which of course He knows they didn't, and then tells them to cast the net in a particular direction.

Now, God is God, and could have placed the net-full of fish anywhere on that sea, but He waited until they were in a particular place in their journey. Once they were in the right place, He told them to cast their net. When I am in the right place, at the right time, God gives me the instructions that I need to follow. When I do things His way, the results are so heavy, too heavy to try and bring into my boat of striving, but rather to bring them to the the shore. I have to be like Peter and get out of my boat to drag them forward. I imagine Peter pulled that net of fish to Jesus' feet, right where we should be bringing our abundant haul.

In short, if I try to do something in my timing and strength I won't get the results that I should. If I follow His instructions at the right time and with the strength that He provides, I will have that abundant life He promises.

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