Most of us long for miracles. And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs: complete forgiveness and a new heart to follow Him as our living King. But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles. In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament: the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.
In John 21:3-4 we read that several of the disciples had been fishing all night with no result. And then, “Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore”. Both His timing and where He appeared seem odd. We’ll consider the location tomorrow.
I wonder where He’d been hours earlier.
How many times have you poured yourself into a task with little or no fruit, and just when you’re ready to quit, the Lord clearly does something you weren’t expecting. And you realize that His timing had been infinitely better than the answer you had been seeking.
Whenever I think the Lord needs to “show up” more quickly in some struggle of my life, I quite often think back to when I met my wife versus when we courted and married.
We met in college in 1986, and I was immediately enamoured. She was beautiful, talented, hard-working, out-spoken, and so much more. But in one of our early conversations, she said the Lord had just saved her and she didn’t want to date anyone until she had a stronger relationship with Him. I was impressed.
…and devastated at the same time.
We were close friends for the next two years, and then I left for a seminary several states away. I tried to convey how hard it would be for both of us. She didn’t seem to hear it, though. Not because she would miss me so much. She just considered us friends.
Again, I was crushed.
Poor pitiful me.
To make a long, amazingly providential story a whole lot shorter, we reconnected in late 1993, “courted” long distance from 600 miles apart, and married in December of 1995. She had been living in South Carolina, and I was an enlisted Soldier in upstate New York working on my commission as an Army Chaplain. So we became a military family looking toward a future of ministry. The first few years were not without a few challenges, but they were generally absolute bliss.
We found a great church in town, but we lived on the installation in an apartment complex of 6 families, three of which hosted home Bible studies. We became great friends and still keep in touch with one of the families to this day. Lauren quickly invested herself fully in the chapel’s women’s Bible studies and fellowships. Our evenings and weekends were filled with laughter, learning to parent together, and enjoying our new friends. The only significant challenge was the timeline of my ordination and commission. What I thought would take several months took almost three years.
When it finally happened, things quickly changed for the worse.
Ministry became my mistress.
Even when there was no great need, I went in to work early, stayed late, and worked Saturdays. I thought I was doing everything right to given everyone as much of my time as possible…everyone except my wife and kids.
Looking back, although I was frustrated with waiting at the time, I’m now very thankful. I am convinced that, if the Lord had not given us those first few great years together, our marriage might not have survived the next few. The great struggle made me hunger for what we had enjoyed before.
After fishing all night with nothing to show for it, the disciples probably thought they had done everything right. They were experienced anglers, they were committed to each other and working together, and nighttime fishing is often the best time to fish. For them, the morning signalled the end of hope for that trip. It was the perfect time for Jesus to show up to remind them that He was their hope, not their best efforts.
Judging from Peter leaping into the sea to swim to Him, he must’ve been hungry – not for the fish and bread that Jesus had waiting – but for the time with the Lord he had enjoyed.
Are you waiting for someone or something right now? Probably. Most of us are.
Wait for Jesus Himself to show up to satisfy you with Himself. You won’t be disappointed.
I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.