Epiphanies, a fishing trip, and a powerful God

So I had an epiphany the other day while I was listening to a video that my kids were watching. It’s such a well-known story, the one where Peter went out to fish after Christ had been crucified and resurrected. Jesus hadn’t been with them at that moment and it seemed as if Peter wasn’t sure what to do next. So he went out to do the one thing he really knew how to do well, and that was fish. Unfortunately, he and the other disciples with him can’t catch anything, though they were fishing all night. Then Jesus showed up on the shore in the early morning and told him to try letting down his net on the right side of the boat. And of course, they then proceeded to catch a huge number of large fish (precisely 153) without the net breaking. Incredible.

But why is that important? What’s the point? Besides the miracle of catching all those fish, it dawned on me there’s more to it than that. Peter went out to do what he knew and was good at. He and the others with him should have been able to catch at least a fish or two. But they didn’t. Why was that? I can definitely relate to putting myself out there to do something that I know how to do, but still being unsuccessful. Even when I try. A lot. Just like Peter. It’s frustrating. Embarrassing. Disheartening. I can go on. Anyone else? It’s like you keep running into a wall that you’ve climbed before, but you just can’t quite get your leg over it today.

For me, that wall is parenting. I should have this gig all sorts of figured out. But I am regularly reminded that I don’t have it all figured out. It’s a new day. Or a different child. Or another situation. I guess parenting is a lot more like fishing than I would have chalked it up to be. There are a lot of variables in either circumstance. Obviously, you get the general hang of things and can get along most days. Usually, you can figure it out. Except on those occasions when you can’t.

What struck me was the fact that those men on the boat hadn’t changed their situation. Same boat. Same lake. No fish. Just a slight perspective change and a very powerful God, and then that’s when everything changed. It’s not about the amount of fish they caught and I’m definitely not talking about strictly material prosperity here, since if that’s what it was all about, we wouldn’t have had the disciples who established the foundation of the church, but we would have had the fisherman who were super successful at catching fish and who, therefore, we probably would never have heard about. It’s not about the “stuff.” It’s about the perspective shift. We can be in the exact same situation but when we realize Who is with us, we can see and experience His abundant provision. Such as patience. Or peace. Or faith. Or mercy.

We can try and do things that we know, our own way, and get what’s good, but not what’s potentially best. When we do things in God’s strength and God’s timing, we bear an amazing amount of fruit. Again, same circumstances, but with a paradigm shift. I think more often than not, God allows us to struggle for a bit so we can recognize Who is there with us if we just look for Him. If Peter was able to get by fishing and had been able to catch some fish that night, maybe he would have left the boat before the morning when Jesus would have been standing at the shore. But since we have a merciful God, He withheld the temporary success of catching a few fish from Peter and his friends for something much, much better.

Maybe we’re stuck in a situation that seems hopeless despite our best efforts, but the LORD’s just waiting until we’re ready to look to Him for His provision rather than continuing to try and do things on our own strength. He’s waiting until we’re tired from trying to do it all on our own.

I know I need to remember this often. It’s not about me. This life, this family, all of it. It’s not about me. It’s about glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism). When there seems to be a frustrating time in our lives that doesn’t change no matter how much effort we put in, maybe it’s time to look up and heed the directions of the One calling out to us. It could make a world of difference. It did for Peter and the disciples. I think it will for us too.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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