When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
–Luke 5:4-5 NIV
After learning they were fired, my friend and her family spent their first night in lament. The second night’s focus was on praise and worship. On the third night, their devotional theme “happened to be” Seeking the Lord. The passage they were to read was Luke 5:1-11. Verse 5 struck a chord with this family.
I can hear Peter, a seasoned fisherman with nothing to show for his effort, wearily say, “We’ve worked all night and caught nothing… you don’t know what you are talking about… the situation is bleak… can’t you tell we are tired, out of luck, fished out? Nevertheless, because it is you, I’ll do as you ask.” I wonder how often we have similar conversations with God? Surely, if He had a grasp on the situation, He would not ask what He is asking of us right now. If He really understood our situation, then… However, because it’s Him….
That night, reading and praying through these verses, the family realized God’s invitation to cast their nets on the other side—not to ask for money or vindication. They began asking for stronger character and a heart to know Jesus more intimately. Their questions had more to do with “Who will we be in this confusing time?” “What do we want to define us as we face this new struggle?”
“David,” she said, as we talked, “we have hope we’ve not had before. When I wake up feeling fear, I pray until I get the peace and then I sleep. If this was God’s plan all along, just to bring these tender, holy moments, then I praise Him all the more! These are moments as a family I would never trade.” And though my heart aches to watch my friends go through this betrayal and seemingly unnecessary upheaval, I wouldn’t want them to trade their “holy moments” for mere comfort.
Biblical hope does not promise sorted circumstances or a desired outcome from the struggle. Hope has more to do with confidence (can we say enjoying?) that God is up to something good within us and, consequently, through us. Hope does not ignore the fact that we are afraid, hurting, or even angry about the situation we may be facing. Hope brings an assurance that God is on the move and we are in good hands.
ACTION: What do your holy moments look like? Where have you experienced God lately? In what ways might you still be struggling with coming to a place of saying, “However, because it is you…”? What defines you in the midst of your struggles?