Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Impatience Rules

“’I’m going fishing,’ Simon Peter said to them.”… “’Men,’ Jesus called to them, ‘you don’t have any fish, do you?’ ‘No,’ they answered.” (John 21:3,5)

            For reasons unexplained by Luke, some or all of the disciples left Jerusalem and returned to Galilee.  Luke does not include this event, but we may find a clue to the reason in Matthew’s gospel.  The angel at the tomb told the women to go tell His disciples that the resurrected Jesus was “going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.” (Matthew 28:7)  Apparently, after the Jerusalem appearances, they returned to Galilee briefly before then returning to Jerusalem.
            Jesus did not appear and remain with them the whole time they were in Galilee.  His appearances were occasional. Peter’s volatility and impatience got the better of him once again when he said, “I’m going fishing.”  Peter was an action kind of guy.  He wanted to see things get done.  All that sitting around and waiting for something to happen tasked him.  Remember: the Holy Spirit had not yet come.  So, Peter reverted to what he knew best.  He went fishing.  The others joined him.  They fished all night but caught nothing.  In fact, we might conclude that God made sure they caught nothing, because an important lesson was needed.
            Early next morning Jesus stood on the shore and called to them.  They were about a football field’s length away.  He told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat.  They did and caught 153 large fish.  John then knew it was the Lord.  When he said that, Peter couldn’t wait to row to shore, so he jumped into the water and swam there.  Jesus made breakfast with some of the fish.
            We can trust that the lesson of patience was not lost on the disciples since they lived it, but for ourselves we need to see that impatience can rule over us if we let it.  Sometimes our desire to see things happen, to see good things come about can cause us to launch out ahead of God and His timing.  Faithful patience in following the Lord’s instructions and the Holy Spirit’s guidance will yield the results that glorify God.  Our God is a God of timing, and taking action in His timing is what glorifies Him.

Lord, Something in us doesn’t especially like having to be patient, but help us today to see the wisdom in it.  Amen.

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