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“When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But, because you say so, I will let down the nets.” – Luke 5:4-5 (NIV)
Personally, I find Peter’s words to be extremely powerful. How often do we mentally argue with God because we’ve already done what we believe He’s telling us to do again? How often do we fail to obey, simply because we don’t see the point in the actions required? How often does it look to us that God doesn’t know what He’s talking about?
Maybe I’m alone in this. But, sometimes, it seems to me that God really isn’t all that much in control. Now, I realize that’s largely because I cannot see the “big picture”. If thread had eyes to see, each stitch in a quilt or garment wouldn’t make sense at all if the thread could not see the entire creation from their vantage point.
But, Peter, though weary beyond measure, in his attempt to have faith and relinquish control of how he thought things should work, obeyed Jesus, saying, “…but because You say so…..”
Though I can’t remember the circumstances, I can recall rolling my eyes when instructed to do things that didn’t make sense to me. Whether it was a parent, my husband or a teacher giving instruction, it didn’t matter. What they were advising made no sense to me at all. But, because they said so – I complied. Someone I loved or respected gave a directive, and I, perhaps begrudgingly, did what they asked. At this moment, I don’t recall any “aha” moments when what seemed like nonsense to me proved to be beneficial, but, I complied because of love or respect.
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Of course, in the very next verse of scripture, we’re immediately told about the phenomenal haul of fish Peter and his co-laborers pulled in together, almost sinking their boats. They saw right away that Jesus knew His stuff; He could be trusted. Seeing the rewards of complying with His instruction, Peter was awe-struck by whatever it was this man Jesus compelled. Did Jesus put the fish there? Did He just know they’d be there? Did He somehow draw the fish to the nets? Was this wisdom, heavenly power or magic of some sort?
Luke 5:8 shows us just how much fear Peter felt, when he, falling to Jesus’ feet, declared, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Like Adam and Eve felt exposed in the Garden of Eden and tried to hide from the presence of God when they disobeyed Him, Peter now felt naked before this Man, Jesus and wanted to hide from Him.
Fortunately, Peter didn’t run and hide, he and the other disciples with him took heed to the next words they heard from this new Master, “Don’t be afraid.” (v 10)
How often we need this reassurance from God to not be afraid! Yet, He always provides the peace and reassurance we need in our hour of crisis. Yes, we still have the option to panic and run the other direction. But, we’re rewarded greatly when, instead, we run into His arms, whether we’re still panicking or not.
Just a few verses later we read where a leprous man encounters Jesus and quite boldly approaches Him, falling with humility, his face to the ground, insisting, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Luke 5:12-13 NIV)
How does Jesus respond? Can you imagine all the love in the universe being focused as light through a magnifying glass, shining straight into this man as Jesus says, “I am willing, be clean!” and seeing that immediately the leprosy left him?
In my own walk with Jesus, I’ve murmured the same words, while reading through Luke one day in the late 80s. My heart was black with sin, rebellion and betrayal, and I wept, Lord, if You’re willing, You can make me clean…..” Before even another breath could enter my lungs, I felt the release of all my guilt and anguish as He lovingly poured into me, “I AM willing, be clean…..”
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What is it that you don’t understand? Can you find the faith (even as small as a mustard seed) to submit to God anyways, and say something along the lines of, “…not my will, but Yours, O God….”? Can you muster the strength and courage to allow the idea that your understanding isn’t going to solve the dilemma you’re in right now? But, perhaps…….God is greater than your understanding?