“So they [the disciples] went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. -John 21: 3-6
When I ponder this passage, I can’t help but wonder what the disciples were thinking. I mean they had been fishing all night long, did they really not drop their net to the right side of the boat during that time? They probably thought, “We’ve fished there already,” “It’d be stupid to try there again,” or “Let’s just give up, he wouldn’t know; He’s on the shoreline.” While all these statements seem logical to us, the disciples still followed through with Jesus’ command. And guess what? The number of fish was so large they couldn’t even lift the net! Wow! The Bible is jam-packed with stories of irrational requests from God to folks: Noah to build an ark, Daniel in the Lion’s den, David to slay Goliath, etc. The outcome is always the same: obedience, even in the most irrational of scenarios, produces abundant provision and blessing.
This message resonates with me personally. I feel pulled to go back to school for a higher degree. Just as the disciples were told clearly where to drop their nets, I very clearly heard from the Lord which school to attend. But in all honesty, the astronomical cost of that school scared the daylights out of me. Why would God be sending me somewhere that was completely out of price range when we are trying to live debt free? It just didn’t make sense to me. I let my human self, my overanalyzing self, my practical self, talk me into exploring other options. Hence, I started “fishing” all night long. I labored looking into other schools and their programs, cost, length of time, etc., all to be extremely stressed out by it all. I called schools, enrolled into classes, paid for exams, figured out schedules. I wasted so much time, money, and thought, but mostly my peace.
I finally surrendered to His will, and I found peace and rest. (Matthew 11:28) In fact, the school God told me to attend required little to nothing from me to apply. It was as simple as dropping a net. If I had just thrown my net out to the right side of the boat, I could have saved myself the turmoil and rested in His promise knowing that He has my back, even high cost tuition. His word states that He “will meet all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) And I need not be afraid because, “He knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 23:11)
Just as I heard from Jesus shouting on the shoreline about which school to go to, I found every reason as to why it wouldn’t make sense. But our call isn’t to decide what to deem worthy of obedience. Our call is to be obedient to Christ in all things, even when they may seem impossible, illogical, or even nonsensical. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) His ways are always higher, and He sees far beyond what our human mind can comprehend. (Isaiah 55:8-9) I’m sure I’ll learn in due time, His time, why this particular school is the choice for me, and I’m confident that it’ll all make sense to me then.
When we allow Jesus to enter our lives, the impossible becomes possible. (Matthew 19:26). He turns our poor, fishless, seemingly hopeless situation into something good, moreover, into abundance of provision and blessing. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Is Jesus shouting at you from the shoreline? What is He asking you do to that may seem silly? Go ahead, drop your net in obedience, and see the large haul of blessing He has for you.