There are many striking stories of Jesus’s days on earth after the resurrection. We learn so much about the Lord’s care and concern for us and also about his followers and what they were thinking. You often hear “after all the apostles had witnessed over the previous three years, how could they not believe in him and follow him…why was their faith so shallow.” Hmmmmm…. do I really think I would have done better.
I was recently struck by the story of Peter deciding to go fishing. Peter had seen the resurrected Lord, but was going back to the familiar part of his previous life. “Hey, let’s go fishing…great idea…we’ll all go….”.The future must have looked very uncertain, so why not go back to what you know… hey, I’ve been a fisherman all my life. Fishing was Peter’s default position. What am I going to do if Jesus is not here to lead…..
Gee, that’s what I tend to do when things are uncertain in my life … when the world is going crazy… sickness, wars and rumors of war, a world turning from God ….. the future looking uncertain at best. Hey, let’s go fishing….it’s what I know …. I can get some peace and joy there. For me “goin fishin” can be to watch a rerun of the Giants Super Bowl victory, have another Krispy Kreme, stare into space…. some efforts to try and take my mind off this uncertain life. You may ask, how’s that working for you, Dave ???
Well, “going fishin” is a very temporary solution…… for Peter and for you and me. Fortunately the Lord showed up on Peter’s fishing trip and got him back on track. He knew what Peter needed. He knew Peter was still devastated by his failure in the Lord’s desperate hour…… how could God ever forgive me after such a blatant denial. “Peter do you love me… do you love me…. do you…. then feed my sheep.” The Lord was still ministering to Peter and preparing him to minister to the brethren. The answer to Peter’s confusion and heartache was not “goin fishin” but reencountering the Lord. The answer to our confusion and heartache and the cares of our heart is not some temporary distraction, it’s reencountering the Lord.
“When I thought my foot slips, thy steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul.” (Ps. 94:18-19) We need the steadfast love of the Lord to carry us thru our trials. We need his healing hand to sooth our weary soul. We need to be consoled by the Lord…these consolations will cheer my soul. There is no real consolations in the midst of our trials other than the Lord.
Well, I don’t remember any further stories of Peter fishing after this encounter with the Lord. He put away his fishing pole and began to be the fisher of men that the Lord had earlier prophesied.
So too for us, let’s put away our “fishin pole”. Let’s allow the Lord to forgive, to heal, to console, and to cheer our soul. Let’s stay close to the Lord, the source of all our joy and happiness. And all will be well with our soul.