The Word of God is alive and evergreen.
While it is as 100% true and complete now as it was years ago, I find it ages and changes and grows and develops as I do. The words and truths stay unmoved but the way they speak to me flow fluidly through the seasons my life brings.
This last Sunday the lesson at our church was on the Gospel of Luke’s version of the calling of the first disciples.
Luke Chapter 5 (NIV)
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
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.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
I know the word of GOD speaks to us where we are because as we listened to the lesson on obeying the Lord’s instructions, on working as He calls us, on the boat being filled to overflowing, on THE MIRACLE- I kept thinking “I bet their hands hurt”
I BET THEIR HANDS HURT!? Are you kidding me? That’s not empowering, encouraging, helpful, enlightening, preachable, or even anywhere is the words of those verses.
But it is exactly what I heard, and it was there that my heart lingered.
I bet their hands hurt.
Because mine do.
I believe RRL and I are witnessing a miracle. The one we’ve been waiting for. But it seems that as is gets closer the work gets more difficult. The “worth it?” question gets harder to answer, and I’m not sure I want anyone to know how close I sometimes come to giving up.
My hands hurt.
I still believe we are exactly where God has called us to be. The job He is asking us to do – and the way He is asking us to do it- don’t really make sense, though. I feel a bit like the fishermen who cast in deep waters in the middle of the day, even knowing that their nets were made for night fishing in shallow waters.
Like Simon immediately saw the evidence of the miracle as the tug on the nets began, I remember giggling in my prayers the very first day we knew about 3 bonus kids. I remember giggling in excitement at what The Lord was doing. It didn’t make sense, but I could sense Him all around. I believed Him, said Yes, and then the work began.
We began pulling in the nets, slowly, steadily, teeth gritted, not giving up, trying one stance and then another, adjusting our weight and continuing to pull. Always pulling. And my hands hurt.
After working for a time to pull the nets in I wonder if their hands got bloody. I wonder if they were tempted to quit. I wonder if for even a brief second the work of the thing outweighed the joy of what they were being allowed to partner in, the miracle. Maybe their hands hurt?
Whether the Word says aloud that the fishermen’s hands hurt that day or not (it doesn’t), I believe our tender and gracious God allowed me to see them that way because it resonated. And through that filter, the one carved by the season of life I’m in so that the light could pour to the part of my soul that needs it most…I found some truths:
My hands hurt because the nets are filling.
The cuts and bruises on my hands (albeit deep and ugly) are temporary, the fish in the nets are eternal.
He doesn’t need my help with this miracle, but he chose me to hold the net.
When the nets got too heavy to bear alone, another boat pulls along beside.
And sometimes your hands hurt.
Because, friends, the overflow of fish that represents my miracle- I can hear them splashing, . Somedays I have to squint so my eyes will adjust to see beyond my aching hands in front of my face. I have to struggle instead to focus just a few feet over the edge of the boat. But when I do, I can see the nets filling. I don’t know how long it is going to take us to pull them in, I don’t know when we will understand why the method was necessary, I have NO idea how the wounds will heal. And I’m 100% sure none of it will be like I expect.
My hands hurt.
But I promise not to quit.
And I promise when your nets get heavy, I’ll be in that boat that pulls up beside you. We will work together, reminding each other to pray “But because you said so…” Reminding each other of temporary and eternal.
Together we will watch for evidence of the miracles flopping one by one then hundreds by hundreds into our boats. Because He is able and good and faithful and overflowing. Forever.
But sometimes our hands hurt.