They didn’t know what to do next. Have you been there? Have you felt stuck, overwhelmed at life’s turn of events? The disciples weren’t sure how to process what Jesus’ resurrected life meant to them, personally. So they defaulted to life as usual. They went fishing. (see scripture text at bottom of this blog post)
How often do we revert to what is comfortable and familiar when we don’t know what’s next? When we are confused, scared, overwhelmed? There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But sometimes we need to be open to changes God might have in mind for us, trusting, His ways are good.
I find it fascinating this story resonates with familiarity as it was along this same seashore Jesus and Peter had an encounter that changed the trajectory of Peter’s life. Read Luke 5:1-11 and notice all the parallels. Jesus had a plan from the beginning for Peter (and the others). It never wavered. There were no circumstances that would have changed the good purposes God had in mind for them. They were still learning this.
Just like us, they were in process.
They just needed reminding and a bit of direction. And isn’t Jesus so good at that, when we let Him in?
The story picks up and the disciples are coming in from a long night of fishing – empty handed. They were undoubtedly exhausted and discouraged. Jesus came to them as a new day was dawning. A new season in their lives was opening up; they just didn’t know it yet.
He came and stood on the shore, waiting for them to notice Him.
He had prepared for them, a cheery fire, fish on the grill, and bread. Nourishment, for body and soul. He was not done with them. He had not forgotten or abandoned them.
This scene warms my heart. He came to show His followers nothing had changed between Him and them. He was still watching over their lives.
When they get close He calls out. Translations vary on how He addressed them. Some of the words used are “boys,” “children,” or “my sons.” This calls to mind the father, standing on the road, looking for his prodigal son, waiting with a warm welcome and loving embrace. I sense the heart of the Father, in Jesus, in this story.
I know He’s there, the bread of life Himself, waiting on the shore of my life as each new day dawns. I get to start my day with a “meal” of being in the Word, listening and conversing with Him. In the times I am tempted to default to fishing, not knowing what to do next, I’m thankful the Lord is patiently there, day by day calling me by name, ready to show me the way, step-by-step.
He is there waiting for all of us.
Jesus’ invitation is always for us to come to Him.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:18-30 ( Message)
Has it been awhile since you’ve responded to this divine invitation? Perhaps the questions below may prompt you to look for and recognize the Presence of the Lord with you.
Imagine Jesus standing on the shore, with a cheery fire behind Him. A hot meal is waiting. He’s looking out to sea anticipating your return.
- Do you sense His invitation to come to Him, as He calls out to you, His beloved child?
- What feelings arise, as you see Him there, waiting for you?
- What would you like to say to Him (He can handle anything)?
- What do you think He might like to say to you?
- What would it look like for you to intentionally carve out extended time with the Lord?
- How do you enjoy spending time with Lord?
- A long walk, conversing with Him, enjoying the beauty of nature?
- Extended time, reading the Bible, noticing what resonates with you? Listening for what connects with your “right here, right now” life? Journaling?
- Doing something creative to express your love for God and the hope you have in Him? Art, music, writing?
- Sitting quietly, letting the cares of the world slip away as you sense His loving Presence?
If you are in a season of not knowing what’s next, remember, the Lord is with you. He is there in power and in love, in truth and in grace. He knows and understands what’s going on in your life. You might not know what is around the next bend in the road but He surely does.
John 21:1-11 (NLT) Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who He was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore.
9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.