“Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.
But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.” (NKJV).
The disciples of Jesus knew He had risen from the grave. They had already had the joy of meeting him when He came through locked doors to visit them (twice), but they were still confused and uncertain about what they needed to do or where their lives were heading. When Peter told some of the others that he was going fishing, they were quick to join him. In the face of all the pain and confusion they had been experiencing after the death of Jesus, and the many uncertainties they felt they faced, this was something comfortable and familiar. Fishing had been their whole life until they met Jesus. They knew the waters around there so well. They knew where they needed to cast their nets, and they knew what times of the year would be less fruitful than others. For them, fishing was as easy as breathing, and the waters could never get as turbulent and as threatening as the time they had just been through in Jerusalem.
However, these expert, rugged men fished all night and caught nothing. They did everything they knew to do. They waited patiently and silently, believing that fish were swimming into their nets, but they were a very disappointed and dejected bunch of fishermen when they saw their nets were empty at the end of the night! It had been a night of wasted toil, and risks taken fruitlessly. Disappointment is painful!
I believe the Lord wants to minister to many precious sons and daughters who have experienced loss or disappointment in the past months or weeks. Perhaps you have labored hard at what you thought was something good, but seen no fruit. Or it could be that the hopes you had about a relationship have not been fulfilled. Maybe you have been experiencing difficulties in your business or ministry and decided to change direction, or go back to something or somewhere you left in the past. Know that the future is going to be different. God has good plans for you. Your time of harvest is coming, but please hear what the Lord would have you know today.
1) Wait to hear from God before you change direction or go back a few steps. We are told that when Peter spoke about going fishing, his friends went out and “immediately” got into the boat. We have to be mindful of making quick decisions – they most often will not be the correct ones. The enemy often provides an opening which is simply a distraction or a disturbance from the course the Lord has planned for us. Then he rushes us and even causes people to put pressure on us to make a quick decision. Think back to some of the mistakes you have made in your life and you would be able to trace them to a quick decision which you were not meant to take. It is always better to wait for God’s confirmation, and to tell the Holy Spirit “show me what to do”. He will!
2) Know that Jesus is always standing by to help and guide you, even when you cannot see or recognize Him. The disciples did not recognize Jesus but when the dawn broke, they saw Him standing on the shore watching them. He had probably been there all night but they never saw Him through the darkness! You may be feeling confused or concerned about decisions you need to take, or about the situation you are in. You may be feeling like you are alone in the darkness, but Jesus is there, standing in your life, waiting for you to talk to Him and seek His help. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is the wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the everlasting Father. You can turn to Him and cast your cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). He is able to handle any problem. He spans all of time and space. Nothing is impossible with Him! He is standing on the fringes of your life right now and waiting for you to turn to Him and call Him in. He is knocking on the door of your heart, hoping you will stop trying to work things out your way, and be successful by doing it His way!
3) God works in times and seasons. Dear friend, some places, jobs, ministries or people are only for a season. God always has something better in store for you. He has promised to take us from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7) and from glory to Glory. His desire for us is that we walk a path of progress, as He takes us to ever higher ground. So it is very rare that He would make us go back to where we used to be (unless we had strayed from His perfect path in the first place). Peter and his friends said ‘goodbye’ to fishing for a living the day Jesus said He would make them ‘fishers of men’. He took them on to new things, and the joy of seeing lives touched and transformed. They were not meant to go back to their old life when things became uncertain. They were unable to see the way ahead at that point in time, but God always had a plan for them, just as He has a plan for you. He is working things out for you, and if you will trust Him, you will see the way His plans will unfold around you – with beauty and precision, bringing great fruitfulness and great joy!
We will look at the next part of this Scripture next week, but in the meantime, know that God has great things for you this year which you have not even begun to imagine. Your season of harvest is coming. Your time of healing and wholeness is nigh. The Prince of Peace is on the shore waiting for you to acknowledge Him and let Him be your partner and your guide! Be blessed as you step ahead into the good things the Father has for you!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 23 January 2012