Our family went fishing for the first time one morning last summer. Well, Matt took the boys, sort of, the girls and I tagged along for the ride. They were so anxious to begin. “How many fish will we catch Daddy?” “Can we take them home and cook them?” “I bet mine will be the biggest!”
All of the gear had been purchased, hooks were baited, and Matt was teaching them how to cast (may need a little work). They only thing left to do was LEARN and WAIT!
Waiting is torture for a child, a few minutes is like hours. Oh the patience, or lack there of, it took! They couldn’t stand still. They would decide to recast or move their location which consequently resulted in lost lures, lines caught in trees and algae, and we as parents starting to lose our patience.
We lasted about an hour, and half of that time was spent untangling fishing line and reminding them how to cast. There were no fish caught and the disappointment on their little faces was heart breaking. One of them said, “I’m not sure fishing is our thing.” We have been once since…
Reminds me of us, the children of God. I think the reason Jesus chose to use several fishermen and the concept of fishing is because it’s a waiting game. We can choose the best gear, right conditions, and perfect place, but we can’t make the fish come just like we can’t conjure up the moving of the Holy Spirit. Remember, when the disciples had been out all night fishing? They hadn’t caught anything but as soon as Jesus shows up and tells them where to cast, the load is so abundant that they can’t even pull the net up.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
My boys’ desire to see results but lack of waiting and understanding of how much time that might take reminded me that we must learn the art of waiting on God’s instruction and timing.
Psalm 25:4-5 says,
“Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.”
The art of waiting includes a desire to wait for guidance, instruction, and truth. As the psalmist says, “He is a God of salvation”. So, waiting on Him will never be in vain. There is always an abundant haul. In his book, “Waiting on God”, Andrew Murray explains that to “wait all the day” is a special kind of surrender where we are continually looking and expecting divine guidance. It’s a sort of saying, “Lord I won’t make a move unless its where you want me to be.”
In regards to being fishers of men, the stakes are high, we are talking of lives being saved and being at peace with God. We are told to share the gospel, but we aren’t told that we will always “catch the fish”. Sometimes, we may “fish” and see no reward at all. This isn’t the end game. The point is obedience to the Father and waiting on His timing. Also, being sure that our motivation in sharing is to see a life changed and that we are sharing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
‘Do not grow weary of doing good” brothers and sisters. God is working and while, we may get to see Jesus pull that net up with all of the fish, we may not. We may never know until we get to eternity what our faithful “casting the line” accomplished. We may be the one who planted or watered. The one who reaps usually is the one who didn’t do most of the work.
However, God promises that His word will not return void and we can be sure that some where and at some time, we caught a fish. Whether it’s one on a line or many in a net, depends on how faithful we are to cast and wait on Him!