Each year on New Years Eve, Mike and I go to dinner, and discuss 4 things to pray for as a family, and individually through out the year. Then at the end of the year we reflect on how God has answered our prayers. Deciding on what to pray for in 2019 was hard. We realized how prayer actually effects things, and we had just come out of a year, where my faith was tested, and shaken like never before. During one of my harder moments, I remember sitting with my friend at the beach, our feet were on the shore, and she said to me As hard as this is, it would be harder to not be obedient.
This kind of reminds me of the disciples.
This never stuck out to me before, but when Jesus called His first disciples, He had already been baptized, tempted by the devil, rejected in Nazareth, driven out an evil spirit, and healed many. And then one day He was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret with having people crowd around, and listening to the word of God. He saw 2 boats left by fisherman by the edge of the water. The fishermen were washing their nets, as Jesus gets into one of the boats that belonged to Simon, and asked him to pull out from shore a bit, where He sat down and taught the people.
After He was done speaking He asked Simon to put his nets down into deep water, but Simon was unsure because he had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught a thing. However what Simon says next is how we should be responding when God leads us.
Because You said so. It is a simple sentence that holds belief, despite circumstance. It is a response that holds hope in contrast to what has happened in the past. They are words that are full of faith.
Simon does what Jesus says, and against what we see as the odds, brings in so many fish that the nets began to tear, and both of the boats were so full they were on the verge of sinking.
Simon, who will soon be named Peter, couldn’t even handle this, and falls at the feet of Jesus asking Him to go away because he is a sinful man. Peter tries to push Jesus away, Jesus had sought him. Jesus encourages him to not be afraid, and they pulled everything up on sure, left everything and followed Him.
“From now on you will be fishers of men.” Luke 5:10
The decision seemed so easy for them. They saw the power of Jesus, dropped everything and followed Him. I kind of wonder what their response would have been if Jesus would have told them what they would endure. You’re going to watch me perform all of these miracles, you will see Me heal the sick, and allow the blind to see. You will see the dead come to life. There will be 1000’s fed with just 5 small loaves of bread, and 2 small fish, and then you will find yourself in doubt. You will walk on water, just like me, and then deny me 3 times, as our eyes meet, and I am sentenced to death on a cross, just hours after telling me “Even if you die, I will never deny you.”
Just like I kind of wonder what my response would be if God would do the same for me. If He told me all that was ahead, would I still leave everything and follow? But that isn’t how He operates most of the time. Most of the time, we must follow by faith and then endure with trust, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the perfector of our faith.
When God asks us to follow Him, He isn’t inviting us on a journey that is completely unknown, because He has already paved the way with His faithfulness. He isn’t up in heaven saying Hey, follow me, I have no clue what I am doing, but we will both figure it out as we go. He isn’t asking us to figure this whole thing out with Him, because He already knows the end of the story. He has gone before you.
So last year, one of my prayers was that my faith would be unshaken. And this is what I learned.
I learned that it is easier to have faith in God, than to try to put your faith and understanding into circumstance. It is easier to keep your eyes on Jesus, than being consumed by the wind and the waves. And it is easier to go with the storm, instead of fighting against it (quite literally actually).
He has gone before you.
When God asks us to follow Him, He is inviting us to join Him in what He already has been doing, since the beginning of time. Making His name known. His leading defies circumstance. His invitation isn’t subject on what has happened in the past. And His call isn’t based on our ability, instead only by what is possible because of who He is.
So here is my prayer for us all this year. I pray that when we hear God call us… may our immediate answer be Because you said so. And then when we want to push Him away because we feel unworthy or overwhelmed, may we hear Him say Don’t be afraid (because He is saying it), and then leave what we are carrying to follow Him, knowing that He has gone before us. May we cling to Him, more than we run in fear. And may our trust increase as we ask Him to crush out unbelief.