Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 3:39 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Voice of Truth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 21:1-8 (ESV).
We Caught Nothing (vv. 1-3)
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Have you ever been in a situation like this before? I am in a situation similar to this right now. About a month ago the Lord spoke to me in the middle of the night and he asked me if I am willing to leave the comforts of my home to go with God to the regions beyond – to the unknown – whatever that may mean for me. He asked me if I would truly give it all up to follow him, i.e. house, land, possessions, and even children and grandchildren, i.e. to leave them all behind. He asked me, “If I say to walk away from it all, will you?” He asked me if I would follow him wherever he led me. I said, “YES!” That was in the middle of the night.
In the morning my husband told me that he wanted to retire this year, and that he believed we were to move back to Ohio (where we originally came from), from South Carolina (where we presently live). We left Ohio 34 years ago (1982). We have lived in our present location 20 years. My husband said that he believes he is supposed to move back to Ohio to care for his aging parents (father, step-mother, and mother). I prayed about it and the Lord immediately told me to “Go!” So, we made the decision together to leave all our children and grandchildren (all 21 of them) behind in South Carolina and to move back to Ohio.
We then began to make preparations for the move. We even drove 500 miles to Ohio to look at possible apartments where we would live. While we were there, the Lord impressed upon our hearts the urgency of us getting up there, as the need is great, not just for his parents, but that the fields are ripe for harvest (Jn. 4:35). We could see the hand of the Lord in how everything was falling into place, one situation after another after another. And, then we hit a “bump in the road,” i.e. a seeming setback.
We are selling our house by owner, and we have a buyer, so we need to secure an attorney to help us write a sales contract, who will also handle the real estate closing for us. I have called multiple attorney offices, but so far we have not had one call us back so that we can set up an appointment to write the sales contract, so we can set a closing date and a move-in date in Ohio. So, yesterday I was feeling discouraged about all this. We can’t move forward without the sales contract and an attorney, so I was praying about what to do next. In other words, I went fishing for an attorney but I wasn’t catching any “fish.”
In The Morning (vv. 4-8)
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
Last night, as I was feeling discouraged, and I didn’t know what my next step should be, and I was calling on the Lord for his guidance, he put the song “Voice of Truth” in my mind. I didn’t look up the lyrics last night, but I remembered the chorus, so I began to pray concerning what message the Lord had for me through this. Then, this morning, the same song was in my mind, so I did look up the lyrics. The song begins by talking about the kind of faith it would take to climb out of the boat we are in onto the crashing waves, to step out of our comfort zone into the unknown. Well, we have sold many houses before, but previously we always used a realtor, so it is definitely not my comfort zone to sell by owner, and to have to secure our own lawyer and to make certain everything is done that needs to be done for us to close this house on time, but Jesus is with me, and he will guide my steps.
So, this morning I prayed and asked the Lord what message he had for me in this. What he spoke to me this morning, I believe, is that I need to throw my net on the other side of the boat, i.e. I need to not give up, but I just need to “fish” someplace else. I had been searching on the internet for lawyers, and then I remembered this morning that we had a phone book, so I got out the phone book and made a list of the lawyers (nine of them) and their phone numbers, and my plan, which is God’s plan, I believe, is to go fishing for a lawyer this morning “on the other side of the boat,” i.e. I am going to call these lawyers until we get one. And, I am believing God to supply. Maybe we will get so many that I will have to choose which one, but I believe the Lord will direct me to the right lawyer for us.
I believe our Lord allows setbacks in our lives sometimes to test our faith, to see whether we will give up, though he certainly knows this in advance, or whether we will stand the test, and if we will keep trusting him even when the waves are crashing all around us. The test is not for God, in other words, but it is for us, in order to strengthen our resolve to keep on keeping on in doing whatever God has called us to do, even when we can’t see how it is all going to turn out, or even when we face those “bumps in the road” along the way. If we know God has called us, then we have to know that he will supply all we need. Sometimes delays are not just to test our faith, though, but they are all about God’s perfect timing. He has a day in mind he wants all this to come together, and we can’t rush it if God has a different timing. We will only frustrate ourselves. But, when he says to throw the net on the other side of the boat, then we need to do that, and trust him to supply all that we need.
VOICE OF TRUTH / Mark Hall & Steven Curtis Chapman
II Corinthians 12:7-10/I Corinthians 1:20-24
…But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth