Frustration comes when we’ve tried everything, and success evades us. Our hearts can be in the right place, we can have good relationships and connections, ample funding and a word from God about what’s next. We can plow and sow, but still end up wringing our hands as we wait for the delayed crops to produce. These are the moments when we wonder if success is just around the corner, or if we are on the wrong track, altogether.
John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” He breathed the Holy Spirit on them, talked about forgiveness, then left again.
They were still sequestered, locking the door, afraid of the repercussions of their previous connection to Jesus.
John 20:30 says that during this second visit, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.” This may imply that Jesus spent some time with them, rebuilding their faith, modeling the miraculous, re-energizing them with the task that He had for them.
In the next scene, they are outside of the house, and are by the Sea of Tiberias. They had been fortified in their faith by Jesus' last visit, and left the building! Progress. But still, the disciples seemed to lack understanding that their call to continue His work was still in place. They were in a sort of limbo, unsure what to do next.
Jesus' followers needed to eat and support themselves, so Peter, who had been a fisherman when he began following Jesus, suggested they fish. The rest followed, a foreshadowing of the profound leadership roll that Peter was stepping into; ““I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:3) Things were uncertain and discouraging for these men, already. They were trying to pick themselves up by the bootstraps. The result for their brave efforts, and their attempts to move ahead in their turned-upside-down lives? Nothing.
We may have gotten all pumped up for a new task or endeavor. But as we forge ahead, obstacles surface.
Peter sat in the fishing boat with these few other men, swaying to keep balance as small swells lifted and dropped their boat. They probably took turns checking the nets. Nothing. An hour later, a good distance further out, lit only by the moon, another check. Nothing. This continued until morning, when the sun rose, and they were weary from their meager sleep which consisted of rotated naps on the floor of the cold, wet boat.
Jesus’ followers were desperate for guidance, feeling desolate and deserted by Him.
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No,’ they answered.
He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”–John 21:4-6
What follows is a cozy breakfast of fish and bread on the shore as the sun climbed the sky. Jesus reinstated Peter, commissioning the group to “Follow me!” (John 21:19) Henceforth they did, for the rest of their lives.
This is how Jesus is with those whom He loves. We are not alone, ever, and we aren’t without direction. Our job is to be on the lookout for His revelation as we wait. It may come in many forms, even that of a stranger. But He will reveal Himself to us as we wait on Him and await His direction. Then your miracle will happen.