Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Sometimes things happen that just don’t make sense. Sometimes things happen and you just want to get away. Maybe you just need a vacation, or there is a situation in which the stress is becoming almost overwhelming. This is a pretty common occurrence. Sooner or later it happens to all of us. Doesn’t seem to matter much what the situation is, just that we all get overwhelmed and need to get away from it all.
Simon Peter, also know as Saint Peter, had this problem. Peter has just had one of the worst weekends of his life. The rabbi he’d been following for a few years was crucified, and he’d warned Peter that he’d deny this rabbi three times before the rooster crowed. Peter thought he knew better, but the rabbi was right, Peter denied him, and the rabbi was executed. Adding to this was that now there was the fact that this rabbi had been reported as having been raised from the dead, and even Peter had seen him twice.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. A man who I had denied, seen put to death and buried, whose tomb I inspected when it was claimed he’d risen from the dead, and had appeared twice that I say, I’d be a quite overwhelmed. I can’t say that I blame Peter for his next action. He went fishing.
I love fishing. I don’t get out to fish as much as I used to, but I still enjoy it. Doesn’t matter if I don’t catch anything, I enjoy simply for the sake of fishing itself. Ironically, Peter didn’t have any better luck than I usually do. He’d been fishing all night and still hadn’t caught a thing. It was right about then, as they were likely about to head for shore, that Jesus appeared.
In many respects, this was quite similar to Peter’s first encounter with Jesus. That is to say that Peter had been out fishing at the time, which was his normal form of employment. When he’d first met Jesus, Peter was told to put out in “deep water” and cast the net. Peter had been reluctant, but did so anyway, and was astonished by the haul. This time, Jesus asked if they has any fish (or more likely, if they’d caught any fish), to which the disciples said no. Jesus then told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, and they caught a large haul. At this point Peter realized it was Jesus and swam to shore. This was the third time that Jesus had appeared to all the disciples at once since his resurrection, and this was the moment when it clicked for Peter.
When we get frustrated and have a problem understanding what’s going on, we need a break. Peter was the same way. He’d been through one of the worst situations a man could go through. However, Jesus had appeared to him and made it clear that everything was under control. Moreover, Jesus reaffirmed Peter and made his expectations of Peter clear. Peter’s life would never be the same.
None of us will likely have an experience remotely close to what Peter went through. However, sometimes we do need to break away and just let things settle into place on their own. God has everything under control. He did at the creation. He did at the crucifixion. He still does today. Yes, things may seem overwhelming, but there is one who is still in control.
When things happen and don’t seem to make sense, it is good to look back and consider what the disciples went through during the ministry of Christ Jesus. They didn’t fully understand his going to the cross to die for our sins until after the fact. They didn’t understand Jesus foretelling of his resurrection until after the fact. So it is also with us. We don’t always understand what is going on and may feel overwhelmed. At times like that, it can be good to step back and just let things settle. However, don’t expect to stay on break. Jesus didn’t let Peter or the other disciples stay on their fishing trip, nor do I expect he would let us do so either. Its nice to take a break and go fishing, but there is still work to do as well.