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Nevertheless…

09 Nov

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A while back I was spending some time reading through Luke 5.  It is a chapter that I have probably read hundreds of times and preached or taught from dozens of times.  But that day, it struck me as new and fresh.

LUKE 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

There is a ton in this passage worth thinking about and meditating on.  But what really struck me the other day was verse 5: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Have you ever felt the way Simon Peter did?

Like you have worked so hard on something, but it isn’t working?

Have you ever been so tired that you have essentially given up?

Peter has been working hard all night.  He is tired.  He is frustrated.  He is done.

But Jesus is not.

When we struggle with something for a long time, we can become discouraged and disheartened. And we can stop trying… we can throw in the towel (or the nets) and call it a day.

I think I was feeling that way with my sexual struggles.

After 17 years of struggling and wrestling, I was tired and worn out.  I was discouraged and disheartened.  Maybe I was done, defeated, disqualified.

And I was also afraid.

Afraid of failure.  Of failing again.  It felt like I had been fishing all night to no avail.  No bites, no catches, just failure after failure.  And when you get tired of failing you are likely to stop trying — sometimes it is better to simply give up than to keep failing.  Or so it seems.  And that is where I was at.

But Peter… he’s not quite there yet.

“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

In essence what Peter says is this: “BECAUSE YOU SAY SO, I WILL.”

Despite being tired.

Despite working hard all night.

Despite the failures.

IF YOU SAY SO, I WILL.

And that is what discipleship is ultimately about.  

IF YOU SAY SO, I WILL.

Why can Peter say this?  Because I think he heard Jesus’ voice whispering to him:

“I know you are tired.  I know you have tried.  I know you think you’ve failed.  I know you are discouraged.  I know your heart is wounded.  I know your flesh is weak.  I know because I know you.  But nevertheless…

Nevertheless, trust me.

Nevertheless, trust me.

Nevertheless, trust me.

And Peter did.  

And that moment of weak trust changed everything.  It changed the trajectory of Peter’s life.  And three years later, when Peter once again was facing fear and failure… a flashback to this moment changed his life again — because Jesus is always greater than our worst failures.

Nevertheless.

Tired? Discouraged? Broken? 

Defeated? Feeling deserted? 

NEVERTHELESS.

I want to be a “because you say so, I will” person again.

I am ready to that.

Still tired… still afraid.  Still frail and weak.  Still me.

But I am ready.

Nevertheless…

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Posted by on November 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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