When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Row out to deep water, and cast your nets for a great catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night and were greatly blessed and have more fish than we know what to do with. So thank you for the offer, but we’re good.”
Not the Bible: The Ungospel of Luke 5:4-5
In the actual version Peter had worked hard all night and caught nothing. I bet he’d been angry with God. I know I would. “Why are you doing this to me? What can’t something go right for once?”
I’ve been in that place this past week. On a cruise to celebrate 20 years of marriage I got food poisoning last weekend. I’ve been struggling to catch up everything this week but have been getting migraines and have been unable to work for a couple of days. In addition, our beloved CD player (yes I am that old) got dropped and broke and then to cap it all off our washing machine broke down.
I had to go next door and ask if they would put our sopping clothes in their machine so I could hand them on the line to dry. I was so grateful for their kindness in my time of desperation.
I was talking to God about my struggle and He reminded me of the above passage.
Had Peter not been desperate He wouldn’t have experienced Jesus’ working in His life. He wouldn’t have fallen to His knees and left everything and followed Him.
God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.
Augustine of Hippo
The more I thought about this the more I realised how true this has been throughout my life. I’m a go-getter – and often it’s not until I reach the end and give up that I am finally able to receive from others and God.
It’s only when I reach the end of myself that I encounter the beginning of Him.
It wasn’t until we’d tried everything in our own efforts to have children that we reached the end of ourselves and God worked a miracle in our lives.
One of our children kept getting out of bed every night and it drove us insane. It wasn’t until we’d tried everything and reach the end of ourselves that we fell to our knees and God showed us what to do.
I know that I wouldn’t have accepted help from the neighbours before as I want to be the one doing the giving – but because of my desperation I received their help and our relationship has deepened.
This is true with God too. Our relationship is deepened during times of trial where we are desperate for Him.
This is why the poor experience so much more of the miraculous and God – they are hungry for Him! Whereas we in the West live our comfortable lives and think we’re rich and don’t need a thing when we are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev 3:17).
But let’s push this a bit further. I believe that God deliberately lets us walk through such seasons so that we become more hungry for Him. I think that sometimes He deliberately withdraws His tangible presence from us so that we long for more of Him.
He is creating in us a passion, a hunger, a longing for more of Him.
So next time you’re in a trial don’t always assume that it must always be from the devil. Look to God and ask what He has for you in your time of humbling and open yourself up to less of you and more of Him.