Pressure has a way of prying open the heart that is in desperate need for hope. With the anticipation of the next report of infection, news stories of political upheaval or financial collapse, fears mount up and weigh heavy on the souls of society. As the frustrations rise, so do divisions. The divide can be seen on the streets, in the side huddles of conversation, as well as, in the homes. As odd as it seems, it is often in such chaos that our eyes are opened to a truth we so often find ourselves blinded to – God is here.
This scenario is timeless. It is true for us in this moment of history just as it was the day Peter, his brother Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee had an encounter with Jesus that changed their lives forever. In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Luke we find that desperation was in the air when the people heard that the teacher from Nazareth was down by the lake teaching. The crowds gathered. Some were looking for a word of hope, while others, like the exhausted fishermen who had just spent the night fishing to no avail, were simply looking for a way out. Then, just when the tension was at the right level, Jesus stepped up, and, within minutes, every person there was presented with truths they each had to face. Like that first century crowd, you and I have to determine how we will respond to the facts that God reveals during seasons of uncertainty and pressure.
Is Anything too Hard for God?
When you break down the passage in Luke 5, that is the first question the crowd had to wrestle with. As the crowds pressed in, Jesus stepped into one of the fishing boats resting on the shore. It was Peter’s boat. Coincidence? I don’t think so. There are no coincidences with God. He looks at Peter and says, “Let’s put out a little from the land.” As Jesus finished his sermon, Peter just sat there in the boat, listening, perhaps a little mesmerized by all that was going on. Then Jesus says to him, “Go out to deep water and throw out your nets.” Don’t you imagine Peter was arguing in his mind. “You may be a good teacher, Jesus, but you’re not much of a fisherman. Your best chance to catch fish is at night!” Perhaps reluctantly, he hears the words come out of his mouth, “If you say so, I’ll let down the nets” (vs.5).
Fact: God isn’t asking us to have it all figured out, He is asking us to listen and obey.
Samuel the prophet declared, “ Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Now, I am sure Peter thought he was dreaming. As he lowered his nets, they immediately began to sink to the bottom of the lake. Deeper and deeper until water started cascading inside his little boat. Peter cried out for the other fishermen still on the shore to hurry and come to their aid. The second boat arrived, dropped their nets and sure enough, it happened to them, too! Both boats caught more fish than either could handle, and it was in the middle of the day!
Fact: God isn’t bound by natural limitations. God is naturally supernatural. Trust Him.
Jesus declared, ““All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28: 18).
In a flash, Peter came to the realization that God was near. He was fully aware that at that very moment the one who created heaven and the earth was in the boat with him! Peter did the only logical thing to do once you accept the reality that God is near, he fell to his knees. Overcome with emotion and conscience of every impure and sinful act he had ever committed, Peter bows in repentance. Now notice, Jesus had not preached to Peter about his sin. He just simply made him aware of His presence. When he began the day, Peter was weary and discouraged, yet now he is forced to reconcile the fact that God had shown up.
Fact: God often reveals Himself in the moments of your struggle. Awareness of His presence inspires and humbles us leading to confession and repentance.
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5).
It is easy to try and place God inside the box of our limited faith, but God is limitless. When circumstances of life seem far beyond our control, God will often remind us that He is still in charge and has dominion over the conditions. After Peter humbles before Him, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid” (vs. 10).
That very statement is repeated over and over in the Scriptures. God led prophets and apostles to record those words of comfort to all who yield to His authority in our lives. However, Jesus wasn’t done. He then told Peter from that day forward he would no longer catch fish, but the hearts of men and women for the Kingdom. Notice vs. 11, “Then they brought the boats to land, left everything and followed Him.” That was the day Peter went from fisher of fish to fisher of souls.
Fact: Great devotion to God leads to a Great Adventure with God.
Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).
Could it be that God chooses moments when we feel life is out of control so He can show us that He is still in control? Could it be that God chooses those times we feel alone to prove to us that we are never alone? Could it be that God interrupts our day just when we think we know what our lives are to be about just so He can reveal to us that He has a plan far greater?
Everyone is distressed under the tension brought about due to COVID-19. Yet, what if God wants to reveal how near He is to you in this moment? How will you respond to the truth that He is near, all powerful, and has a calling and plan for you?