As we get closer to the end of the summer, the Lord has impressed on my heart the scripture of Luke 5:
“When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again. And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear. A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.” (Verses 4-7)
From this passage in Luke, I have written a few thoughts that I love so deeply about our God:
1. Jesus calls us to go deeper.
This summer, we have had the sweet privilege of leading the Summer Hope program at the McKenzie Court and Rosedale communities. We play games, eat snacks, dance, do crafts and read a bible story. But more often than not, the kids take a lot of convincing to want to do the bible story part. As you can imagine, this can be a little disheartening. We rarely see the fruit of our labor. It’s a really easy place for Satan to sneak in and tell us that we aren’t doing enough: we aren’t fun enough, we aren’t interesting enough, our teaching abilities aren’t good enough, and our words aren’t sticking with these kids at all. But here, Jesus asks the fisherman to get back in the boat, go to a deeper section of water, and cast their nets again even though they had seen no fruit from their labor. I think He is reminding me that love always chases. A huge theme in the Bible is that God’s love is always going to passionately pursue humankind. He is madly in love with us, whether or not we love Him back. This sweet love isn’t only ours to keep and hold onto but ours we get to reflect. And sometimes reflecting this love looks like continuing to excitedly tell Bible stories to kids that may or may not want to hear it because we love them enough to tell them about how much Jesus loves them. He calls us to go deeper in our relationships with them, deeper in our love for them, because the Gospel is absolutely worth it.
2. Jesus is not fazed by our doubt and disbelief.
After Jesus asks the fishermen to get back in the boat, Simon reminds Him that they had tried to catch fish all night but didn’t catch one. Doubt and disbelief are strung throughout Simon’s words. It was illogical for them to go back out to catch some fish, considering they had previously caught absolutely nothing. We have a tendency to allow fear to short-circuit what God has planned. Sometimes we project our own limitations on God. But God isn’t fazed by our fear and our doubt and our disbelief. We get to turn and hand over our limitations to a God who has none. Our weaknesses don’t reflect weakness on Him but reflect His strength to make broken people triumphant. Even when we come to the building super tired and unprepared to tackle the day, He continues to be faithful in providing everything we need. He continues to send us kids to form relationships with. He continues to send faithful volunteers to help us love on kids. He continues to send us to our sites to share His Gospel. He continues to allow us to be the hands and feet, even when we doubt His goodness and His grace.
3. He provides in abundance.
Jesus doesn’t just give the fishermen a few fish. He gives them an abundance of fish – so many fish that the boat begins to sink. And He doesn’t just provide for the fishermen in that one boat. He provides to the fishermen in the other boat as well, people that did not all expect to be on the receiving end of miracle. Jesus has provided and continues to provide exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask for. He supplies patience and energy in abundance. He has made loving the kids in our ministry almost effortless. And He provides all these things despite the fact that we may not believe that He will. I think Jesus is teaching us what it looks like to love His children like He would, how to give with no conditions and no strings attached.
In anything and everything, He has proven Himself to be faithful and to be enough. He has been our strength and our patience. He is teaching us to be more like Him. He is teaching us to see people through His eyes. Jesus continues to unify. No matter where we are in the world, no matter where we come from, no matter our demographic or socioeconomic background, we are loved by the same Father. And for this reason there will always be unity under one God and one Body as one Family. And we continue to see a clearer picture of what Jesus intended for the Church to look like.
So now, when I look back on all that Jesus has already done, I feel complete peace. I know that we won’t get it all right and that’s okay. We have the perfect Father who doesn’t ask for perfection out of us, He just requires obedience. He’s got this, all of it. So we’ll keep loving hard and leading these kids to Him, not worrying too much about the petty details in between. Some mornings I look around at all the sweet faces and think that my heart has truly reached maximum capacity. I can’t imagine loving these kids and our team and our volunteers more than I do right now. And then I’m wrecked all over again because I know that Jesus holds these kids closer than I ever will and loves them more than I ever could. And for this, I am thankful.
From glory to glory, until His nets are full.