Trusting the Lord on An Unexpected Fishing Trip
Published on December 01, 2023
Go Fishing

Simon is an accomplished fisherman…  he has been a fisherman as long as anyone can remember.  As far as I know, that is what he has always done, and he is good at it.  I only hope I can learn the skill from him so I can use this craft to provide for my family someday.  I like my job.  Simon has always been good to me and he goes out of his way to explain why we are doing things this way, or that way, so I can learn.  I have been working with him on his boat for some time now, but I still need to learn a lot!  So many times in the past, when we were fishing and something wasn’t working, Simon would expertly change his approach, quickly explain for my benefit, and then more often than not, the adjustment would produce the results that were so important to all of us.  

No fish

Last night, however, was different.  Nothing was working.  Simon took us through all the tweaks and adjustments that would usually produce results, but to no avail.  Nobody doubted his expertise – it’s not like we were doing anything wrong – but sometimes you just get skunked.  When that happens, what else can you do?  Sometimes, despite having an expert leading the way, the fish just aren’t there – or at least not in our nets.  That’s what last night was like – and believe me, we kept trying everything, all night long. Yet, no fish.  

Cleaning nets- oh yay

Cleaning the nets is my least favorite part of the job – especially after a night like last night.  It’s amazing how much debris and gunk can build up and get caught in the nets– even when they don’t catch any fish!  But it is important to take care of the equipment, so here we are, cleaning and scrubbing these crazy nets.  At least we are almost finished… we’re about to put them away – maybe we’ll be more successful tonight.

If you have ever been interrupted from accomplishing a necessary chore like that, then maybe you understand how frustrating it is.  Simon told us put the nets into the boat before the task was complete.  It seems that his fishing boat was to become the speaking podium for some teacher passing through the area.  He said we’d finish cleaning them after the teacher speaks. 

Simon’s mother-in-law

While we were working last night, Simon told us how his mother-in-law was sick, and apparently this teacher healed her.  That got Simon’s attention.  I have to admit, it sounded pretty amazing.  Plus, so many people are collecting on the shore, there must be even more to this man’s story.  Maybe getting to hear him is worth the delay…  Not that I really have a choice… 

Wait a minute… What…??  It’s over already??  It feels like it just started!  That was incredible!  I have never heard anyone speak like that… 

go fishing again?

Apparently, neither has Simon, because he just agreed to go out fishing again.  I don’t mean to take anything away from this man’s message because it truly was remarkable – but let down the nets again?  Really?  I mean, what is the point?  We have already tried everything, and this is not even the right time – this is when we put the nets away not let them down.  But Simon said we will do it because of who asked us.  I know he must have had doubts as well, but I overheard him say, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing, Nevertheless, at thy word, I will let down the net.”  So, let me get this straight, we’re putting out the nets again and go fishing because this man asked us to?  I mean, he is an amazing speaker but as far as I know, he is no fisherman.  This thing is doomed to fail.  We’re about to get skunked again and then we will be starting over on cleaning the nets! 

Wow, this is crazy!  I have seen a lot of things fishing but never anything like this!  You will never believe this!  No sooner did we put the nets in the water than they were way overfilled with fish!  I mean hundreds of them, way more than the boat could even hold!  Our net started breaking!  We brought the other boat over and before long, both boats were beginning to sink!  We were all astonished!  Who is this man that told us to put the nets out again??  Once again, Simon speaks perfectly for me when he falls at the man’s feet and says, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man”.  Clearly, whoever this person is – he is not limited by all the standard norms that we have gotten used to.  He plays by a whole new set of rules!

Fishing Trip

is it hopeless?

Allow me to interrupt the thoughts of this fictional apprentice (from the story found in Luke 5:1-11) to the man who is later known as the Apostle Peter.  Our apprentice thought his situation was hopeless.  Why on earth would they bother throwing out the nets again?  They knew there was no way they could make a difference.  They knew they would just fail.  In their own strength, they had just worked all night to no avail.  But when Jesus showed up, Simon trusted Him for the result, and they got the chance to see an amazing miracle! 

Have you ever looked at the situation of our country and thought it was hopeless?  Have you felt like we have worked all night, or maybe that we could work for many nights, and it would make no difference? No fish would be caught? Do you feel like just getting the nets finished so you can go to sleep?  Maybe it is time we stop worrying that it won’t make a difference, and we say with Peter, “Nevertheless, at thy word, I will…”

nevertheless…

Nevertheless, at thy word, I will become a coach and lead a Constitution Class…

Nevertheless, at thy word, I will take that Convention of States leadership role

Nevertheless, at thy word, I will attend and speak up at my City Council or School Board meeting…  (or maybe run for one of the seats coming open)

Nevertheless, at thy word, I will…  fill in the blank with whatever the Lord has prepared you to do for your country.

I think it is time to realize we are not going to save this nation on our own.  We are not going to save it with things that make earthly sense.  We are going to have to defy that voice inside that tells us it’s no use…  we are going to have to trust the Lord, go fishing anyway, and watch Him work a miracle. 

 

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tim Rennie

    Yes, I love the story in Luke 5, it shows us the clear distinction between relying on ourselves vs trusting the Lord, and having the benefit of seeing him do his work when let go and trust him more than ourselves. I have learned to always look forward to similar moments as I continue to seek Him and learn His ways in my life – it never ends!

    The one thing that get’s me excited when I read of this story is that it isn’t just about the miracle of the fishing nets so full of fish that others had to called in to help, but what happened after they returned to shore. Simon Peter just caught the catch of a lifetime, a catch that he likely never even imagined possible – yet it just happened, far greater than neither he nor anyone in his occupation had heard of or experienced – and he made the decision to walk away from his day job, walk away from the only trade he knew that kept a roof over his household and food on the table to follow Christ and from that day forward become a fisher of men!

    That is the true miracle, the one that we should always be looking for when Jesus shows up in the midst of our being obedient to his call – people are moved, hearts are changed, and His Kingdom once again snatches another soul away from the grips of the enemy. Halleluiah!

    Thank you for your obedience to His call, and for spreading the fire and staying true to the word of our Lord and Savior. May the harvest continue, and not just with an occasional catch – but fill our nets, Lord, to the point of overflowing so we can see our country return to you. Amen!

    Reply
    • Jason Southerland

      Amen! Your comments are such an encouragement – thank you! Your point about Peter walking away at the precise, most profitable moment in his career is exactly accurate – that’s a great point! The more I read in the Bible, in light of the current situation in our country, the more I believe this is God’s fight. Our job is to be faithful to Him and to trust Him. If you read through Kings or Chronicles and read about when God’s people won or lost battles, it was never because of the size of their army, the quality of their weapons, or the brilliance of their strategy – it is always whether God is blessing them, or disciplining them. May we cry out to Him to have mercy and heal our land. And, as you mention, the bigger fight is in the hearts and lives of people all over the world and the salvation He offers. Thank you again for your comment!

      Reply

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