Casting Your Net

“Staring at the shoreline, wishing for some hope, the weight of empty fishing nets is more than twisted rope.”

These lines from a band called “Five Iron Frenzy” came back to me just in time yesterday.  It speaks of a time after Jesus was crucified when the disciples were all but despairing.

I have been there.  I am there right now.

They thought that God had called them to something great.  They had argued about who would sit at Jesus right hand in His kingdom, who would be the greatest.  And then they watched Him die.

But then He rose, after all their failures and betrayals, he came back.  No discussions of self-importance, no more grand ideas.  They had messed up and they knew it.

So they returned to fishing.  I’m never going to be great.  I will never be anything.

And then, they fail at that too.

“See the figure on the shore, He speaks as plain men sing.  His hands they still have holes in them, Glory to the King!”

Then Jesus, THEN JESUS, my hero, my King…

“Try one more time.”

“But I’ve been trying.  Everything and everyone is telling me how I’ve failed you, how much a mess I’ve made of my life.”

“Trust me.”

“I hear they’ll hang you upside down, stretched across their boards, for hearing distant voices and crossing to the Lord.”

Peter ended up hung on a cross too.  But we’ve got to see beyond this.  He lived a life, found a love worth dying for.  In casting out his net one more time, he found what he had always, unknowingly, hoped for.

I’m tired.  I don’t know how to keep trying some days.  Maybe you can relate.

Don’t give up.  A life worth dying for is just on the other side.

If You Don’t Go With Me

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Moses was given the opportunity to get what he wanted.  He was told he could go into the “Promised Land”.  And, he could go right now.  He refused and forever forfeited his chance.  See, there was a catch.  God told him he could go but God would not go with him.  Moses, rightly, refused saying, “If You don’t go with us, we’re not going anywhere.”

Peter echoed this in the New Testament.  Many of Jesus’ disciples deserted Him on one occasion.  This prompted Him to ask His closest friends, “What about you, will you leave me also?”  Peter replied, “Where else can we go?”

I’ve often wondered at the twists and turns of life.  Why did this decision came at this time, this opportunity presented itself at that exact moment?  It was what I wanted, what I thought I needed, but could not take because of the timing.  I also sensed, rightly, that God was offering but would not be in it, would not go with me.

Does God tease us, tempt us with good?  Does He ask us to forfeit forever our dreams and desires?  Though I know He won’t tempt us to sin, I believe He does present us with options to force us to ask the questions of ourselves.  What is more important?  Who is most important?

So what if I choose to go without God?  What if I would say that I’m taking the opportunity to get what I want whether God comes or not?  I was given a picture of what that would look like.

Jar full of honey, sweet golden honey.  Inside, mixed with the golden goodness you could see feces, dead flies, undefinable floating matter.  Then I was told to drink up.  “No thank you!”  Getting what I want without God turns life to horrible, grotesque, vacuous nightmares.

But the deepest nightmares, if God is with me, become my dreams come true.  With Him, I receive, “exceedingly, abundantly beyond anything I can ask, or even imagine.”