“Today’s tears water tomorrow’s gardens.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
Have you ever had God give you ridiculous instructions?
I’m not talking “ha ha… no, really?”
I’m talkin’ “Have you been paying attention God? That’s CRAZY!”
That must have been what was going through Peter’s mind the first time he encounters Jesus.
God of the Impossibilities
Picture it, Peter has been fishing all… night… long.
He is wet, cold to the bone, discouraged, and just plain weary.
All night he has cast out his nets, only to pull them back into the boat, empty.
Now, he’s trying to figure out what he’s going to tell his family.
How are they going to eat? Pay the bills? Give those wretched Romans another pound of flesh in the form of taxes?
And then, along comes Jesus
“Can I borrow your boat a minute? These people can’t hear me, so I need to ask you to take me out from the shore, just a little ways.”
(Can you imagine it?)
Peter’s muscles are burning from, rowing, casting, rowing, casting, only to come back empty; nothing to show for all his exhaustion and effort.
And now, this guy Jesus, wants to go joyriding in his boat!
I don’t know about you, but I think there would have been some “choice words” running through my mind. Words that I wouldn’t dare speak to a Rabbi, let alone, God in the flesh.
Looking into the face of God
Now, imagine that scenario for a moment.
God, (in the form of The Messiah,) has just broken into your hopeless situation, and is now talking to you face to face.
I have to believe that there must have been something in Jesus’ voice; a look on his face; a holy presence of some kind, that caused Peter to obey when probably that was the last thing he wanted to do.
God likes to do that; show up in the middle of our messy lives, and then give us some really, really, ridiculous looking instructions or assignments.
Learning who’s “God of fish”… and who ain’t
I can promise you: this is not an unusual scenario for a disciple of Jesus.
Coming up on seventy myself, I can tell you from my own personal experience, God will show up when you least expect Him to; give you instructions about something He wants you to do; something that you ABSOLUTELY do not want to do.
And then–go silent.
(I mean dead quiet until you trust and obey.)
Those instructions may look crazy. It will probably seem impossible. You may even think, “No way I can do this!”
Then faith will ask one crazy question, “What have you got to lose?”
After all, what God wants from you already looks crazy, right?
So… why not?
Remember Joshua at the Jordan?
Beyond difficult assignment.
Totally impossible bunch of people.
Think of it, the Jordan is at flood stage for Pete’s sake!
- LORD, you want me to take all these people down to the Jordan, check.
- You want the priests to lead the way carrying the ark of the covenant, check.
- You want them to walk into the river, forget what they can see… Just. Go. Forward.
- Okay, God, this is going to be interesting…
(My paraphrase of course.)
Obeying… no matter what.
It’s hard to obey when the instructions look nuts.
It’s hard to obey, tears in your eyes, and everything in your heart shouting, “No! Please, God, no.”
Will God really ask you to do that?
Yep–in a New York minute. Just ask Abraham, Gideon, Elijah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, David, Peter, Paul… and maybe, you?
Yes, because He is now your inside God.
You carry His holy presence inside you wherever you go.
You are now empowered: to believe, trust, obey, and do.
Jesus and HARD questions
So, has Jesus just shown up asking you some very hard questions?
Is He asking you to follow Him across some impossible Jordan in your life?
Or, perhaps He is asking you to cast your net, again, on the other side of the boat right where you are?
Jesus is the God of fish and hard questions, and yes, you can “opt out” of a miracle anytime you want to.
(I hope you won’t.)
Discipleship means following anywhere
Which means, I’m praying that you will look at this Jordan, then look into the Word of God, and when your Messiah asks you, “Coming with Me?”
You will follow Him–wherever He’s going.