Monday, January 26, 2015

Recasting Your Net: Perseverance in Discouragement

Photo Curtesy of Noomhh at
We are getting an HEB Plus in my hometown, finally, and I am so excited! However, because of the road construction to prepare for the new store, the left lane of the street that it will reside on has been closed for several weeks. Over the past few weeks, time and again I would forget that it was closed and have to practically force my way into the right lane at the last minute. I need to be in the left lane to turn toward my street, so having to switch back and forth between lanes was inconvenient. Eventually I got used to the road being one lane and would prepare in advance by getting in the right lane early. After I dropped my kids off at school this morning, I drove through Starbucks and got some coffee before driving home on that exact road. Prepared for the merge, I got into the right lane, then soon realized the left lane was open again! Since that's the lane I actually need to be in, I very happily got back over. I immediately heard these words:

Paths that were once closed will be reopened.

These words are very comforting to me as it seems the past season has been a "one lane" season. I have been very discouraged by the struggle and constant battle. Can you relate? Does it seem like everything you do has been met with a closed door? I believe God's timing is precise and perfect - whether or not it can be frustrating for those of us bending to it - and these seasons happen for reason. But, seasons change! I believe as we move into Spring, flowers will not be the only thing blooming.

Things in our lives that have been touched by winter, will begin to come alive again. 

A few weeks ago at church, while reading Luke 5, my spirit came alive as I related so strongly to Peter's story. I already feel as though Peter and I were cut from the same cloth: temperamental, zealous, the list goes on, but I also have immense respect for Peter. He allowed Christ to break him down and rebuild him into an amazing disciple - he surrendered to God's plan for his life - even though at some points he did it "kicking and screaming". He is my favorite Biblical Figure, so the fact that I am moved by an historical account that he is upfront and center in is nothing new, but this story pricked my heart in a different way. For the past year, I have felt as though God has been asking me to work toward something that is going nowhere. This something is taking my time, money, and causing me a lot of personal stress. I knew going into it that it was God's plan, but as circumstances have gotten harder - I have gotten weary. I have been ready to hang it up, much like the fishermen in the passage:

"On the banks of Gennesaret Lake, a huge crowd, Jesus in the center of it, presses in to hear His message from God. 2 Off to the side, fishermen are washing their nets, leaving their boats unattended on the shore. Jesus gets into one of the boats and asks its owner, Simon, to push off and anchor a short distance from the beach. Jesus sits down and teaches the people standing on the beach.

4 After speaking for a while, Jesus speaks to Simon.

Jesus: Move out into deeper water, and drop your nets to see what you’ll catch.

Simon (perplexed): 5 Master, we’ve been fishing all night, and we haven’t caught even a minnow. But . . . all right, I’ll do it if You say so."

When is enough finally enough? I can almost hear those words spilling out of Peter's mouth in this passage. He and his fishermen had been working hard all night, to no avail, and had already washed empty their nets and dropped them on the shore. I have wanted so badly to "drop my net" in this past season. I almost heard my own voice when I read Peter's initial response, "Please, God, NO MORE!" But Peter trusted Christ, or at the very least chose to obey him, so he picked up his net once more and threw it out. 

What happens when we are obedient in perseverance? 

" Simon then gets his fellow fishermen to help him let down their nets, and to their surprise, the water is bubbling with thrashing fish—a huge school. The strands of their nets start snapping under the weight of the catch, 7 so the crew shouts to the other boat to come out and give them a hand. They start scooping fish out of the nets and into their boats, and before long, their boats are so full of fish they almost sink!"

Because of Peter's obedience, Christ was able to shine. Not only did he cause Peter to have a very successful fishing trip, but he also brought glory to himself - which, by the way, is what this life is all about. Isn't it? To surrender in obedience so that Christ can shine. What better way for Christ to shine than in the dark, discouraging places? If Peter had been successful the first time around, he never would have seen Christ's power - nor would the masses that had just listened to Christ's sermon. They were watching. They are still watching today.

Our lives are on display to reveal God's glory.

At the end of the story, Peter falls on his knees in awe of Christ, feeling undeserving of his graciousness. In response, Christ tells Peter that from this point on he would be a "fisher of men". What does that mean? It means that because of Peter's willingness to submit his will to that of Christ's, he would be used to "reel in" men and women to the Kingdom of God. From this point on, Peter was on display as a disciple of Christ. Imperfection aside, God would use Peter to bring himself glory.

As I sat quietly in church and read this passage, I knew what God was saying to me. Allow me to paraphrase (and feel free to use whatever "God voice" you'd like as you read);

"Shara, this isn't about you. I am doing kingdom work. I need you to persevere. If you will surrender to my calling, I will do great things. "

Surrender. One simple word that requires so much. Yet, it's so worth it isn't it? Surrendering to God never returns void. I've done some kicking and screaming, but I have made up my mind.

So, here I go. I'm recasting my net. Will you join me?

If you enjoyed my post, please feel free to follow me on google, subscribe via email or share my post with your friends! xo- Shara

Mom's Morning Coffee