One day, Simon Peter was cleaning his nets, tired after a long night of fishing. He had struck out and was most likely not in the mood to be bothered while he completed his work. Then, a man who had been teaching a large crowd nearby walked up to Peter and asked to use his boat to continue teaching from. Maybe Peter grumbled, maybe he was impressed by the size of the crowd who were hanging on this man’s every word. Peter, though tired, allowed the man to use his boat. He carefully steered out a bit from the shore and listened to this man teach. We don’t know Jesus’ message that day but it must have been moving for Peter. When Jesus finished speaking he told Peter to go out to the deep water and cast his nets. Simon Peter replied:
Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets. (Luke 5:5)
I just love Peter’s response. First he makes sure Jesus knows that he knows a thing or two about fishing. But, something that Jesus said must have compelled Peter to trust him anyway. As a military spouse I can only too well relate to Peter in this story.
Right now our family is in what I call military limbo. I happen to know a thing or two about limbo since most of our past 5 years in the military have been in some state of limbo, or waiting. At the very least, I know that it is something I extremely dislike and would rather not have in our lives.
Our current limbo involves our next assignment. All the indications are that we will be moving in the next 6 months and there is even a rumor that we will be notified about our dates this month. The thing is we could find out tomorrow, or the last day of the month. On top of that, we could be told that we are moving in May, or have to wait until September. So, I know a thing or two about limbo, a fact I often remind God of.
Peter’s response is what has been keeping me going this month. Yes, God knows how much I don’t like limbo. But, like Peter, I need to let go of what I think I know. Like Peter, I’ll probably find out that there is more to the story than I thought I knew. Peter must have felt like he had fished the whole lake and come up with nothing. Why would this moment be any different?
The difference was that this time he took Jesus with him. And not only did he allow Jesus into his boat, he listened to what Jesus asked him to do. So, if I expect to have anything positive come out of this period of waiting I have to do 2 things.
- I have to let Jesus into my boat. I have to let Jesus in my life. I have to let him pervade my waiting. My experience of waiting has to be surrendered at the foot of the cross, not kept curled up in my fists.
- When Jesus tells me to do something I should DO IT! For me personally this means taking to heart the ideas and new learnings I’ve gained from reading Jeff Cavin’s When You Suffer, especially regarding the fruitfulness for ourselves and others that can come from our suffering and from listening to the excellent podcasts of fellow Catholicmom contributor Sterling Jaquith (specifically the ones about being the guardian of peace in my home and the importance of plan, pause, Peter, praise).
What is so incredible about our Lord is that not only does He love us, He showers us with His love, grace and mercy when we give Him even one small piece of our lives. When Peter went back to the deep water, he didn’t just find a few fish. His trust and faith in Jesus was rewarded with so many fish that his boat could not contain the abundance. It overflowed into the other boats. If Jesus blessed Peter and his friends with an overabundance of fish, I know He will bless your life when you surrender to His will.
Do you find it hard to let go of things you think you “know” and “know how it will end”? While it is important to tell God about your struggles, your worries and the things you think you know about, it is just as important to surrender them to God’s plan, even when it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time.
Copyright 2016 Kate Taliaferro