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.

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Chuckin’ Chunks of Ice

Today, I went out in the snow with my grandson.  We shoveled and made snow angels.  He let me pull him around on a sled.  We threw ice chunks up in the air to watch them splat on the ground.  He laughed and laughed.

Here’s how the game went.  I would take a piece of slushy, crunchy ice that fell off my car.  You know what I’m talking about, dirty, gray, nasty pieces that build up in the wheel wells as you drive.  The temperatures are perfect for making them formed enough to stick together but when the hit the driveway they explode.  Anyway, I’d take a piece and throw it way up into the air.  We would watch it as it came back down and then clap and laugh as it splatted.  Then he would grab a piece and try to do the same thing.  Now you have to understand, he’s twenty months old.  He tried so hard.  He reach back as far as he could, holding tight to his missile.  Then, with all the might he could muster, throw the ice a foot in front of him, or throw it in his own face, or throw it behind him.  A couple of times it never even left his hand.  At first he would look at me, a shadow of disappointment crossing his innocent face.  But I would clap and laugh, tell him how good he did, shout and praise him.  Then we’d do it again.

Two things I saw as we played in the snow.  Two things he loved that we shared.  He loved watching how powerful I am and he loved trying to be like me.  I am not strong or amazing but I loved showing him how things fly, how they explode on impact.  And, I loved watching him try so hard, pour himself into something so completely.

We share that with God.  Men and women of faith find joy in watching the Creator show off His power, His sovereignty, His presence.  We want to see those moments when He does what only He can do.  And then, we try to be like Him.  We love beyond our ability.  We serve when no one gives us praise.  We pray like we’re at war.

And when our attempts fall flat, seem so pitiful by comparison, we hear Him cheering us on.  His joy poured out on us for our efforts to be like Him because dad’s know.

Their kids will grow.