In this well-known gospel story, Simon Peter is faced with a difficult decision. He finds himself pulled in two different directions. On the one hand, he is an expert fisherman who knows the waters well, and having fished all night to no avail, knows when to call it quits. On the other hand, Jesus, who presumably has little to no fishing experience or expertise, tells him it’s time to go fishing. Though few of us still fish for a living, we in our own ways will likely face a moment in which our perceived expertise and the Lord’s leading come into conflict.
How do you respond when Jesus asks you to do something that you don’t understand? In this moment, Simon Peter could have responded in a variety of ways. “Jesus, you’re a preacher and a carpenter. In all humility, leave the fishing to the experts.” Or, after the boats begin to sink from the weight of the catch, he could have dismissed it as beginners luck or tried to explain it away. Yet instead of these quite natural responses, we see him take a step of bold and faithful discipleship.
In this moment, Simon Peter is filled with doubt and obedience. He expresses his uncertainty and hesitation with the plan, yet his allegiance to Jesus as “master” is greater than his fears, and so he is willing to follow and obey even in the midst of doubt. Can the same be said of you? Is your faith in Jesus able to endure very real moments and even seasons of doubt?
Like Simon Peter, we will face times in life when knowledge that once felt certain now feels elusive and up in the air. People we once thought that we could rely on will instead fail us and let us down. The church goes from being a place of safety and security to a place where you doubt that you could ever belong or trust again. In these moments, you and I need a trust in God and a faithful obedience that can weather even our deepest fears and doubts.
If you wait until every single doubt is resolved and question is answered, you will be waiting for a very long time. Instead of getting stuck in a spiral of doubt, Jesus wants you, right now, as you are, to join him on mission. Trust him as Master and Lord. Can you join your voice with Simon Peter and say to Jesus today, “if you say so, and throw your net in the direction of His word.”