It was a striking new lesson for me when I reread Luke chapter 5. Simon Peter, James and John were called into obedience by Jesus on the Lake of Galilee. He told these tired men to put their nets in the deep water, the place of risk. They tried to reason with him, "Oh, Lord, we have fished all night and caught nothing." But even though circumstantially it made no sense to obey Jesus, they chose to do as he said. When the fishermen had let down their nets in the deep water, the fish caught were so abundant that the nets began to rip and the boats began to sink. STOP. Wait.
Did Luke 5 really say their nets began to rip and their boats began to sink? Do you know what that meant to me? Following Jesus, obeying Jesus' word can cause human disasters. I have lived there in the questioning, and I've seen the holes in my net and I've felt the boat under me vying to drown me. In that moment it is easy to ask why the Giver of good gifts didn't prevent my net from ripping, my boat from sinking. I become so inwardly focused by the fact that my very survival tool is ripped that I forget to see the abundance of new blessings in my torn expectations. I don't see beautiful, wriggling fish; I see more work when I'm already tired. I see my safety net is now useless, and the boat I thought dependable is slogging low in the water.
What if following Jesus' call on my life leads to many net rippings? Will I trust him? Will I come to realize that he wants to expand my net, bigger than my perception, bigger than my dreams? Will I come to accept that he has a better boat for me?
As I saw the Scripture again as if for the first time, I felt like frugal fishermen would probably mend their nets. The visibility of a patched net gives us a tangible reminder of the moment Christ showed up in all his Glory and the fish in the sea responded to his call. Jesus wants us to look on the unmatched rope woven into the painful rips in our nets to be reminded that when he gives, he gives in an overabundance. He wants us to have a memory for how His generosity has no bounds, and it will always rip human limits.
In my mortal eyes and in a senseless state, I often can't see that the rips are divine. Instead I become fearful that Jesus gave me something bigger than what I think I can handle. I understand how Peter could tell Jesus to depart from him, because I too have been overwhelmed by Jesus gifting in my sinful state. Jesus is lavish when we least deserve it. His character drives us to our knees.
Will I ever get to the place where I live in such fellowship with Jesus that I invite him to rip my net and sink my boat to fulfill his purposes? Will I gratefully accept "disastrous obedience"?
Remarkably, Jesus still speaks to my fears, "Don't be afraid." Oh, how he loves me. Oh, how he longs for me to beach my former boat and leave my limiting net in a tangle. May my actions say, "You are still worth losing everything...to follow."
2 days ago