Night of Nothing
Photo: Augustin Pinero
Have you ever whispered to yourself anything like the following?
*I’ll just go back to drinking again. I mean, I can’t turn to God, what else do I have?
*I’ll just go back to a bad relationship. I know this relationship is harmful to me, but God doesn’t love me. Where else could I go?
*I’ll just go back to my poor thoughts again. I can never seem to get a handle on this problem. God’s tired of hearing my excuses by now. So I will dwell on these harmful thoughts like I always do.
*I’ll go back to those old friends, back to the place I used to hang out and to the people I used to hang out with and to the people I used to run around with. I’ll go back to all the harmful stuff I used to do.
*I’ll run to my favorite coping mechanism because that’s where I’ve always gone for fulfillment and satisfaction. That’s where I’ve always gone to feel better. And even though I never find fulfillment or satisfaction there, and even though I always feel worse there than before, at least it’s familiar territory. I’ll go back to what I know.
There’s good news for all of us failures.
After His resurrection, Jesus appears to Peter and the other disciples. They had fished all night and had a long night of nothing.
Jesus asked a rhetorical question: How’s that working for you?
Jesus already knew they hadn’t caught any fish and that returning to their old ways was fruitless. So He offered a solution.
Jesus called out, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some.”
You can almost hear the sarcasm coming from the boat, “Oh, the right side! We didn’t think of that, did we?”
They listened to the voice and threw the net on the right side, and boom - the greatest catch ever! They couldn’t haul the net in because of all the fish.
Let’s personalize this.
Have you gotten discouraged in your Christian walk? Have you returned to old, toxic living that has produced a whole night of nothing?
Jesus knows exactly what you are looking for and exactly where you can get it.
Right now Jesus is asking you the same question He asked Peter and the disciples. Jesus is looking at your familiar patterns of living and asking, “How’s that working for you?”
Once we affirm the reality our life is not working for us, God is able to restore us.
As long as we deny our situation and continue to think what we’re doing is great and fun and satisfying, and that we are running the show, then we are still under the power of the deceiver.
“Put your net over there.”
He says, “I know exactly what you are looking for, and I know exactly where you can find it. You find what you are looking for when you follow Me.”
Peter’s response was immediately to go to Jesus. In fact, he couldn’t wait for the boat to get to shore; he leapt overboard and swam to shore. Jesus’ answer to Peter and the disciples’ failure was to make breakfast and eat with them.
Jesus isn’t mad at you for your failures. He invites you to return to Him. Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus, again at breakfast, asks Peter three times if he loved Him.
Jesus knew He couldn’t count on Peter, but the good news was Peter could count on Him. He could turn Peter’s weakness into his strength.
Peter went on to be the focal leader in the early church. His response to his cowardice at the crucifixion was to go back to the familiar. Jesus intercepted him after a night of nothing.
If you are tired of living for nights of nothing, return to Jesus, where you’ll find forgiveness, hope and new vision for your life.