I want to refer to Peter in the Bible on this post. Peter was a man of extreme passion and raw emotions. He was engaged fully with his complete heart. Once Jesus called him to come, he abandoned all and followed trusting God, not just with feet but with an open heart. Jesus’ commendation of him was: “upon this rock I will build my church.” I believe this was about the kind of believer Peter was, not about the individual person. And this is who we are invited to be in our lives, wide open and heart-engaged.
This is a vulnerable place. I walked unknowingly into December 31, 2012 as one led. I didn’t know what would transpire nor do I ever. I am called to follow, trusting God, not to know outcomes. The death of a brother or the exhilaration of a birth might greet me upon my rising. Even though I have tried, I can’t shield myself from the unexpected. I am one being guided through life circumstances and situations by a trustworthy Leader.
Here is how Peter responded to the death of someone he loved. After Christ’s death, Peter said in John 21:3 “I’m going out to fish.” I don’t believe he was making a statement of satisfying hunger or making a momentary distraction, I think he was making a vocational change relating to Christ’s passing. He was devastated and his life was washed up in one cruel Roman act. His focus and purpose was gone in the death of Jesus. In his viewfinder was the scorched earth of his Leader’s demise, so Peter returned to what he had known previously, fishing. His emotions and despair paired with his limited view of reality caused him to turn back to the boat. This one who leapt from the boat was now turning back to re-board.
Now on his vessel and after a night of fruitless fishing here comes the View. “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then the VIEW said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some.” The View came to expand Peter’s limited seeing and give him a greater picture. This professional fisherman caught 153 large fish on the leading of this unknown man directing their nets. Yes, it was Jesus, the One who was the vision!
So how does this story relate to my thoughts on the viewfinder and, much more importantly, life? Though I often sum up my existence or draw conclusions based on what I see in the moment, I can know there is One who has in His hands the expanding vision, the Shepherd who is our source. I feel like possibly knowing that we see only in part might help us when we want to turn back, but probably not. The only thing I can be assured of is there is a Man sitting on our shores ready to change our perspective and reveal to us Life – regardless of the momentary circumstance.
*Formally “Back to the Boat” now titled Trusting God.