He (Jesus) said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21: 6
When Scott was about 7 or 8, his best friend, Ryan, kept telling him about all the times he and his dad had gone fishing that spring, and how much fun they had. Scott thought it would be the grandest thing and he wanted to go too. We had plans to go to the beach soon, so Bob promised him that we would all go fishing while we were there!
They bought fishing poles for the 2 of them, a tackle box, and when the time came, their much awaited bait. They were ready and Scott could not wait to catch his first fish!
I was excited too! It was something I had always wanted to do, and the thought of us all sitting by the water relaxing and watching the fish being reeled in sounded like fun. I really thought that it was going to be a great family adventure for all of us! Kelly, at 13, was the practical one, and knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be all that great! And she was right! She and I lasted for about an hour or so, and then we headed for the sandy shore. We were done.
I can’t say I enjoyed it. It was so frustrating to sit and wait and wait, knowing those fish were in the water and not taking the bait! I had so wanted Scott to be excited by each one he pulled in. I could not wait to see the pride on his face. But it never happened. Not even once!
Several hours later, he and his dad joined us on the beach, and the pail was still empty! They were 2 dejected, disappointed guys! They had tried so hard and failed!
Don’t we feel that way about life sometimes? We too have had those times when we have worked hard to make something happen and have put much time and effort into making sure it did. We really felt as if we were prepared, we had done everything we could, and it was really important to us. Yet, we kept waiting and waiting, hoping and praying. And still it didn’t happen.
Some of us may be experiencing that same situation at the present time in our lives. We may be looking and hoping, and even waiting for God to come through and make the thing we want so badly to happen.
Perhaps we are like Peter and the 4 disciples we read about in John 21 who kept trying to catch fish all through the night and caught nothing. I can only imagine their frustration when their livelihood and their source of food depended on their success. They must have been so tired and weary from their long night and felt as if they had nothing to show for all their efforts.
As dawn came, they saw a man standing on shore who called out to them, asking if they had caught any fish. And when they answered that they had not, Jesus, the resurrected Christ, in his third appearance before the disciples, said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, their catch was so heavy that they were unable to haul in the net!
Maybe there’s a lesson for us in this story. If we have been waiting for something to happen in our lives and it hasn’t, maybe Jesus, too, is telling us “to put our nets on the other side“, or to look in another direction for what it is we want. Whatever we are hoping for – whether it has to do with our families or other relationships, our finances, our jobs, healing with a health issue, or a resolution to a problem we’re dealing with – God may be telling us to stop “looking at our empty nets and fish elsewhere”. He may have something else in mind, much better than what we had planned for ourselves. We may have been counting on this one thing for so long that we may have lost our focus and we need to look elsewhere. And when we do, “our boat too, may become full to overflowing” with the blessings of His goodness.
When that happens, hopefully, we too will realize what the disciples did. After they saw the abundance of fish they had caught, they looked back to shore, and the disciple whom Jesus loved (most likely John Himself) said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” They recognized that it was their Master, and that it was He who had given them what they needed. He had once again shown them His love and His grace, but most of all He had shown them His glory.
Hopefully, we, too, will see that God’s hand was in our situation, giving us His best. And we, too, will give Him much honor and praise!
(And all was not lost on our little “fishing trip”! We had a great time, and later that summer, Scott caught his first fish – in a pond!)
Our loving and gracious God, we thank you for your presence with us and for all the blessings of life. How grateful we are that you always know what is best for us and will show us the way. Amen