Allan said that at these times it's really easy to ask God, 'What have I done wrong?'
Reference: v.5 Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." (NIV Bible)
Explore: Recently I heard Allan Meyer, pastor and co-founder of Careforce Lifekeys, speak about some difficult times in his ministry. He spoke of when he first became the pastor of Careforce Church and wanted to begin a building program. The church had already received a permit from the council to build however it had lapsed and so the church went back to the council for it to be renewed. The outcry from the rest of the community was huge. There were over a hundred people who went to the council expressing their opposition to the building permit. Allan said that at these times it's really easy to ask God, 'What have I done wrong? Why is this happening? Is this divine retribution for me not doing the right thing in the past?' The church leadership decided not to pursue the building program at that time. However, as time went along they had the opportunity to start a ministry in India. Due to the church not being locked up in a building program they were able to pour more time and resources into the Indian ministries. "By 2005, more that 3500 churches had been planted along with more than 1700 children being cared for in a number of orphanages. More than 250,000 people have been won to Christ and embraced in an ever expanding circle of village churches," writes Phil Baker (for more, see Allan Meyer link above). While it seemed that God was not opening the way for Careforce in their building program, He was actually opening a floodgate of ministry through them in India.
Application: Simon, from our passage in Luke, had been out fishing all night and not caught anything. How disheartening to work all night for no reward. Maybe as Simon was washing his nets he was questioning his career as a fisherman. Maybe he was evaluating the effectiveness of his nets and assessing the location of his fishing spot on the lake. It's important to step back every now and again to evaluate what we are doing. Often it takes a difficult time for us to stop and think about what we are doing. But when Jesus gave a clear instruction to Simon he was obedient, left the shore and went back out. And the floodgates were opened. When we go through difficult times it can be really painful. However, if we stay faithful to God He will open up other opportunities for us that we would never have entertained if we were still back on the shore.
Prayer: Lord, going through difficult times can be so painful. May we stay faithful to You and trust that You have more in store for us in the future. Amen.
When have you felt like you were at a dead end? What doors (or floodgates!) opened up for you?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.