What does it mean to be held?
There are times in life when we try to predict everything. We try to be the weathermen, and, in doing so, we create our own storm.
A wise person once said that faith is believing that everything will be OK when things aren’t OK.
That’s one of my favorite interpretations of what it is to have faith, because the largest amount of faith is required when things are not going the way you thought or hoped they would.
Our God is a God who surprises us. I, in my arrogance, have often assumed that God would “surprise me” within the course of my life in a way that I had already kind of seen coming, or at least in a way that I had considered before.
I was wrong.
I can firmly attest to the fact that life will sooner or later throw something at all of us that we didn’t see coming. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, hang tight … because it will.
Sometimes, these surprises are things that God actively wills to happen, and other times they are things that he allows to happen through his permissive will.
I would now like to divert from the explanatory part of this article for a moment and paint you a mental picture. If you have ever watched the TV series “The Chosen,” you may remember the episode that depicts the Bible story of Jesus calling his first disciples. The night before Jesus calls Peter to be his disciple, Peter is in quite a jam.
He is indebted to some men who will harm him unless he is able to catch enough fish to pay them back by the morning. Even though Peter has gotten himself into this predicament, he thinks he can get himself out on his own. So, he decides to go out on his boat and sail all night, hoping to catch the fish.
In the middle of the night, he finds himself in the midst of a storm, and he is wrestling with the ropes and sails of his boat, trying to right himself against the winds and currents, but to no avail.
All of his attempts are futile, because he does not have the power to save himself. In a way, he is actually fighting against himself. He wants to do everything in his life by his own power, his own resourcefulness and cleverness … but all he can give is simply not enough.
By his own power, Peter catches no fish.
Much like the apostle Peter, I can be very stubborn. I often want to be in control and do things my way, and in my timing. However, when I find myself face to face with the unexpected, my already limited resources often run short, and I don’t know where to turn. I realize that I can’t predict everything, and I need help knowing the best way to respond to the unpredicted.
Luckily, this stormy scene carries with it a silver lining. After his failed night of attempting to catch fish, Peter encounters Jesus on the shore and receives something very unexpected.
Luke 5:4-7 states: “After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.’ Simon said in reply, ‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”
What happened to Peter that day is something that can resonate with all of us, as we acknowledge that our lives are in God’s hands, not our own. By letting go of the things we expect and think we can predict, we come to realize that we are quite small and have very little control over anything.
This humble recognition of where we truly stand in reference to our Creator sets us free and allows us to receive the abundant overflow of gifts that he’s been waiting to give to us.
When we distance ourselves from God and fall into the fallacy of self-reliance, we inflict a storm upon ourselves. However, when we open ourselves up to what God has in store, he brings the renewal of a gentle rain that gives way to an unexpected rainbow.