Today I woke up feeling discouraged. It wasn’t for any particular reason except that sometimes life doesn’t turn out exactly how we would like, and if we’re not careful those feelings of disappointment can sneak up on us. The underlying feeling that what my generation was told in that “anything is possible, and we just have to “step out, risk, be bold and we’ll succeed” isn’t exactly as many may have envisaged. Sometimes we do step out, take risks, be bold, and….we fail.
To be honest I have witnessed my share of risk taking and failures. Growing up my visionary, risk-taking Dad stepped out over and over again, and went bankrupt over and over again. Our family has seen its fare share of failed marriages, death, disease, loss, disappointment and heartache. If we allow ourselves most people could find reasons for being disappointed and discouraged. Perhaps we all at times can feel like we want to do so much with our lives, and yet it seems so often we achieve so little of what we signed up for.
But today God spoke to me and reminded me of Jesus’ meeting with a fisherman called Simon Peter. Peter had toiled all night fishing and caught nothing. He had failed at his trade and was obviously feeling tired, despondent and probably a little fed up. He knew the fish were out there, but he just couldn’t seem to catch them. Then Jesus comes along and climbs into his empty boat and tells him to pull a little way out into the water so that He can preach to the multitudes on the shore. When he had finished speaking to the crowd Jesus looks at Peter and tells Him to, “Launch out into the deep and to let down His nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4)
“Master,” Simon replied, “we have worked through the night without catching 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 tear. So they signalled to 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.” (Luke 5:5-7)
The thing about discouragement, failure and disappointment is that it may move us, but it doesn’t faze God. He works within a different system called the Kingdom of Heaven, and when we have toiled and toiled trying to make things work out, He will always come along and offer to take the load we are carrying, and then show us His better way. Even when we have failed, He says to us, just like He did to Peter, to “come over here and cast your nets again, but this time don’t get into toil, but work in the framework of my way of doing things.” For it is very easy to get into toil, even while doing the things we may have felt God said for us to do. We toil when we get into fear and worry, and a lack of trust in God’s goodness towards us. We toil when we neglect doing the things God says in His word to do because we are too busy trying to make things work out.
Today wherever you have toiled and seen only failure and disappointment for your effort, take heart and listen again to the voice of Jesus, and at His word take a fresh step of faith. At His word choose once more to try again, as you learn from your mistakes, follow the wisdom and instruction found in God’s Word and follow the leading of Jesus The Good Shepherd, just as Simon Peter did in his moment of failure, and as a result caught such a catch his nets began to burst.
Jesus said, “Launch out into the deep and let down you nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4)
“We have toiled all night catching nothing, nevertheless at your word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish.”
Be encouraged as you listen to this song by Brian and Jen Johnson “You’re gonna be okay”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjF9IqvXDjY&index=2&list=RDQPWJwgoRE7g
Prayer: Lord thank you that you don’t see failure as a reason to give up, but simply a platform to learn and grow from. Please help me to listen again to your voice leading me, and to hear the direction and guidance you have for me to once more “launch out into the deep”. In Jesus name Amen.