I’m a picture person. A visual learner. I understand things better if I can get a picture of it in my head. Today God gave me quite a profound picture.
I was reading Matthew 4:18-22. It’s the passage where Jesus invites Peter and Andrew to join Him. The whole scene played out so vividly in my head. It says, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee”. Peter and Andrew weren’t out in a boat. They were standing in the water, quietly waiting and watching for fish to swim by so they could throw out their nets to catch them.
And I thought about that picture. These two men standing quietly watching.
I don’t often stand still. I’m very rarely blessed with quiet. And who has time to watch and wait for something in this world?
Well, I was struck profoundly that maybe those are things I should start doing.
At first, I was thinking about the fish. Each fish caught would certainly be considered a blessing. Peter and Andrew surely had an attitude of expectation and hope. Their time, at that moment, was spent looking for the blessings.
Maybe I’m stretching this a bit…but this is what God impressed upon me this morning.
There are blessings to be had…moments to be blessed…moments to stand still and acknowledge the blessings.
Too often I find myself rushing, racing, running, and rattling off my list of to-dos like there is no tomorrow. What about taking a moment and standing still, breathing deeply, and thanking God. Watching for what He’s doing!
If you were to have a visual picture of me to juxtapose with Peter and Andrew…I’d be the frantic woman down the beach a bit, tossing my net willy-nilly into the water. Creating splashes and extra waves in my frenzied attempt to capture blessings that I think I need immediately. I’d be knee deep in the water splattered with sand and mud, damp all the way through. One pant leg slightly rolled up. One unraveled around my ankle, floating around me with each wave. My hair would be half in a ponytail, half blowing over my eyes causing my efforts to be even more harried and ineffective (if that were possible). My net would be flying through the air in crazy arcs, landing in the water with a splash, crumpled and twisted. See, I tend to go at things with a gusto that is often not well thought-out. I race into possible solutions because I want to fix things. I try too hard…my intentions are all great, but my execution is often flawed.
What I realized this morning is sometimes its okay to relax and pursue solutions with calm and quiet. To trust that God will handle things, provide the solutions, provision, and blessings in the perfect time. I just need to be watching and waiting, prepared and ready to act when He shows me it is time.
I also noticed that Peter and Andrew were fishing together. They had fellowship, companionship, and a common focus. How beautiful is that! I love relationship. God has provided that for me and I’m grateful. Sometimes I forget that I wasn’t meant to be a lone survivor…that God has provided others to walk through this life with me.
It’s important that I stand peacefully beside them and they beside me as we expectantly wait to see what God provides.
And God does provide. Not only blessings, but Jesus.
How amazing that as they stood quietly watching for the blessing of fish in a net, the Savior of the world calmly walked up to them and said, “Come, follow me.”
I’ve always been shocked at their response, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” Wait, what?! Really? No questions. No discussions. No “let me get my stuff together. “ No “let us store these nets for later so no one takes them”. No “and who are you exactly?” Nothing, just following. Crazy.
What was it about this moment that resulted in that response? What was it about these men and that Man? How remarkable! I can only imagine that Jesus, being God, knew they were ready and willing. That they were available. Men of courage, conviction, and commitment. Men willing to leave it all behind and follow Him.
Was it that they had learned to look for blessings? Was it their attitude of waiting and watching expectantly that made them more available for their Savior to radically change their lives? Was it Jesus just working supernaturally in the way only He can to soften their hearts to His calling?
Yes all those things…at least I think so.
God had prepared these men to be disciples and apostles of Jesus. He had given them time to learn perseverance, patience, and peacefulness even as they battled storms, endured long waits for full nets, dealt with disappointingly small catches, enjoyed the bounty of boats overflowing, carefully repaired torn nets and dented boats, spent long nights at sea, celebrated beautiful sunrises, enjoyed the companionship and dealt with the irritation of working with others.
The day in and day out struggles and successes of our days are the places we learn and grow into the people God created us to be.
It is super easy for me to see my overwhelmingly busy days as just crazy chaos that distracts me from what I really want to be doing…the things I think are most important.
But, what if everything is important? What if all the moments of the day are set into motion by my sovereign Lord and Savior to mold me into the woman God wants me to be?
What if the minutes of minutiae in a day are really minutes of meaning? What if it is less about big defining things, and more about little details in the defining of me. Defining of my character, my attitude, my perspective, my hopes and dreams and expectations?
What if the things I do everyday that might seem inconsequential, insignificant in the grand scheme of things, irritatingly repetitive, and just a tad (or a lot) boring, are the things that will make me who I am, who I am meant to be…
The standing knee deep in the water, watching quietly for a school of fish to swim by so I can carefully and strategically throw out my net…maybe these moments are much more important than I thought.
Because the result is recognized blessings…is moments where I’m watching for God to provide and I grab that provision and thank Him for it. And then, the beautiful then, is that I’m more than ever ready to follow Jesus. To go where he has called me…whether its another day of the mundane or a day full of magnificence.
But whatever He calls me too, I’m ready. As Andrew Murray says, I expect great things from God.
He is a great God after all!
So the visual now is not me casting my net in crazy contortions of desperation. It’s me, quietly and expectantly waiting for God to show me His blessings…to be acutely aware that He is working and providing and blessing. And because I am peacefully watching, He most certainly will be calling and leading.
I might not be able to stand still for very long, but I can certainly slow down a bit. Slow down and watch what God is doing…expect Him to do things. Expect Him to show up. Just like Jesus did.
And I pray that I will always choose to follow Him.
Let’s drop our nets and follow Him today!