“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize it was Jesus. John 21:3-4 (NIV)
This story sounds like us so much of the time. We have a hard time seeing and experiencing the presence of God all around us, so we just do what feels comfortable or right, or what we always have done. We live our lives, and do our thing, and we don’t see Jesus even when He is right in front of us.
So many times we wonder where Jesus is in those “dark nights of the soul,” those times when we are frustrated or in pain or despair. If only we could see that He is right there in the center of it all, and that He knows our disappointments, our fears, our doubts and our frustrations, but so many times we just don’t see Him.
The disciples had the same problem, and these were guys who hung out with Jesus for years. They ate with Him, walked with Him, lived with Him, but they still couldn’t see Him in plain sight.
So why sometimes do we just give up on the plans God has made for us and decide to go do our own thing?
Do we lose our patience with God’s timing and His way of doing things? Or do we see His way of doing things as just being too unreasonable or too difficult, like the prophet Jonah, who didn’t want to go to Nineveh and tried to run away from God instead? (See Jonah 1-3) Do we really think that running away from God is even possible?
Thankfully Jesus meets us where we are even if we just give up and “go fishing.” He meets us not to shame us or make us feel guilty, but to encourage us, and to put us back on the path for which He created us.