Sometimes life is not what we thought it would be. Or maybe it’s not all of life that seems misaligned, but a big piece is out of kilter and is seriously holding us back.
Maybe our faith is shaken because God is not doing what we think He should do.
We see – again – evil triumph over good, and the injustice disappoints us.
We pray – and see or hear nothing from the God who tells us to call out to Him!
Our marriage or family – or our prospects of those are disappointing.
We trusted someone, and they betrayed our trust – and it hurts.
Have been in any of these places? Have you felt this in your life in any way?
Somewhere in the grief that those things cause in us, we look around us for someone to blame, and in the search we land on God Himself. Where WERE you? WHY did you let this happen?
If you’ve felt this way before, you’re not far from where Peter was in John 21. He’s lost his grip on faith and has gone back to what he knew from before – which was fishing. Jesus has died in what Peter perceives as a crushing defeat – and even though the tomb is empty, it’s not making sense to this fisherman yet. Peter’s plan for Jesus has bit the dust. He’s disillusioned.
The dictionary defines “disillusioned” as a having lost one’s ideals, illusions or ideas about someone or something. Peter was there. It’s true that Peter didn’t know the bigger plan, and it’s also true that he had some ideals and hopes about Jesus that were his OWN, but so do we.
And that’s why WE are sometimes disillusioned, as well. It’s why we’re close to giving up.
And then Jesus shows up on the shore while Peter and the others are in the boats after a miserable and fruitless night of fishing. Just for moment, imagine you’re in that tiny boat on a dark sea all night, and you’ve been grumbling, along with the rest of them. You see the man on the seashore calling out to you. “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” “No,” you answer. “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.”
I love that Jesus comes to people in their doubt and disillusionment. He does this over and over! I love that He tells them to do something that seems ridiculous. THEY (you and your boatmates) are the experts when it comes to fish. (We just have to remember Jesus is the expert over all of creation)
Well, the disciples do what He says and suddenly, everything changes. The nets are so full they cannot haul it all in. John sees the evidence, looks again at the shore and says, “It’s the Lord,” and Peter dives in the water to get to Him. What are YOU doing at that point?
We usually run away from God when we’re disillusioned. This is what Peter was actually doing at the beginning of this story – he was rowing a boat AWAY from the Lord until Jesus reached out, and now he is swimming BACK to Jesus on the shore. In the ensuing and amazing conversation that follows, Jesus restores Peter’s faith – and he never doubts again.
What Jesus does to help Peter, he can do for any of us.
He did this for my family when we walked through an incredible seasons of loss and disappointment. He helped us put the pieces of our faith back together and helped us to get on the journey with him once more.
When we have this kind of conversation with Jesus, He reminds us of who we are. He helps us remember how to truth again, and He reminds us how to LOVE JESUS again.
“Peter, do you love me more than these? Tend My lambs.” John 21:15
And then on the heels of that, “Follow Me.” John 21:19
Just as Jesus said “Follow Me,” to Peter and the disciples in the beginning, He says it again on the other side of doubt and disappointment. “Follow Me.” He’s saying that to you today.
God wasn’t done with Peter and God’s not done with you. As you read Peter’s comeback story – and the stories of others – my prayer is that you’ll trust Him with your own story.
On the other side of all these things, I think you’ll come to appreciate a verse that my wife and I hold near and dear. It is this one.
“As for God, His way is perfect.” Psalm 18:30. It may not seem so in the beginning, but by the end, you’ll be saying the very same thing.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.