I don't know if you've ever sacrificed something big for God.
I don't just mean giving up a friendship, or an ice cream addiction, but I'm talking about exchanging our dreams for the goal of Christ, of putting yourself in danger in order to serve, of giving up a relationship that you love the most because you felt God calling you elsewhere.
If you're anything like me, when God is calling us to make those sacrifices, I cling to His promises about His blessings. I cling to His message of joy and hope and assurance that He will provide. I cling to stories like the one in Luke 5 where Peter obeys Jesus and Jesus blesses with boats of abundant fish. Or when Peter walks on water, and Moses crosses the Red Sea, and David defeats Goliath. There's an expectation of mine- that I will be rewarded for my efforts or loss, or obedience.
And yet as I read the Bible and as I walk through life, I realize that maybe I am slightly disillusioned. That maybe Jesus doesn't care about my earthly comfort or prosperity as much as I thought. And maybe just maybe my steps of faith won't always win me boats full of fishes.
Because I, being totally honest, I want the fishes, dolphins too. I want my boat to be full of blessings and joy and praise and happiness- because I followed Jesus, I expect it to be so good.
And when I follow Jesus' calling and it's not. I'm left angry. Eyes wide open, fishing pole to the side, I find myself yelling at the clouds "I thought you promised fish here." "I followed you and now look what you've done." I'm angry I realize and there's no praise on my lips to be heard.
And I have to run back to Jesus to realize that He's not a liar but this is actually my issue, because I'm expecting something from Him that HE NEVER PROMISED.
Friends, He never promised it would be easy.
He never promised it would be comfortable.
He never promised pretty log cabins or rolling hills.
He never promised picture perfect families.
He never promised satisfying career choices.
He never promised us that we wouldn't go through hard times.
But friends, He promised us He would go with us.
He promised us He would teach us something through our hardships and pain.
He promised us that He would give us peace throughout the worse nights.
He promised us that He could still give us that joy.
And He promised us, that when He comes, He will wipe every tear away from our eyes. That pain and suffering will be no more.
I don't know what your going through in your life that is hard. I don't know if it seems you've been following God lately into fertile valleys or desserts. And I don't know if your fishing boat is totally empty or totally full.
But wherever you are, wherever God is leading you, have the courage to continue on that journey. Maybe you see and have seen the promises, or maybe you are still waiting. There are some things we will never understand here on this earth- and maybe we won't understand why we have to journey through some of the pain we do.
But going back to the story of the calling of the first disciples, Jesus used the fish. But it was NEVER ABOUT THE FISH. The full boat of fish was only a sign, it was only a miracle of faith to encourage the fisherman to follow Jesus. But Jesus called the disciples to a life of sacrifice, to a life of hardship, not to a life of prosperity- but to a life of service.
So maybe if our boats seem a little empty today, maybe Jesus wants you to remember that it's not about the fishes, it's not about where you are or what you are doing. But it's about your soul- He is journeying and battling for your soul. And it's about the souls of others' around you.
So may we have peace in the empty boats that Jesus' promise is sure that heaven will be full of so many fish we can never count or hold! And until then may we rest in His promises of love and peace.