Housework, the bane of any busy mum’s life. No sooner have you picked something up, someone will fill that space with something else, and can anyone tell me the secret to where all the odd socks go, as they enter the washing machine in pairs? I am beginning to wonder if we have a thief that breaks in and steals socks, I am far too old to believe in the fairies and goblins, but this phenomenon tests even the sanest of minds!
The other day I was cleaning my house, praying it would last all week, because I knew that there would be lots of people coming round, and I thought there’s nothing like the threat of a visitor to make you take that bit of extra care over cleaning up, is there? The things you can normally turn a blind eye to suddenly are staring you in the face, like the dirty hand prints that track up the hall, stairs and landing stopping just outside you son’s bedroom door, where the toxic waste sign hangs, warning you off crossing the threshold.
Do you ever feel like this? If you know someone’s coming round, feel like it or not, you tidy up. Even on a surprise visit, I have a checklist that goes off in my mind and if nothing else as long as the bathroom’s clean, we’re ok!
I do this fake loo dash where I say “make yourself at home, I’ve just got to pop to the loo” and I’m in there frantically wiping everything down and squirting bleach down the loo. Anyone with me? My mum had her Ruby wedding anniversary lunch in our garden at the end of last month, and that did wonders to our commitment to watering weeding and mowing: it had never looked so good. We even put in , and still have evidence of, flowers.
When I read about Jesus getting into Peter’s boat, (Luke 5:1-11) I wondered if Peter felt like this when Jesus suddenly asked to get in. It must have been quite dirty because they had been out in it all night and had only just started cleaning the nets, and I just wonder if at that moment his eyes scanned the boat and his heart sank.
It’s a bit like the phrase, ‘Lord, don’t look at me now’ isn’t it? We would all love to be perfect people but we aren’t and sometimes we are in a mess.
Have you ever noticed, when our homes are in a mess and the last thing we want is for someone to pop round someone always does? My nan can always be relied upon to turn up right then.
It’s the same when our spiritual lives aren’t perhaps as we would want, that’s the time Jesus comes knocking. The annoying thing for me, with my female disposition of ‘must control everything’, is that you never know when Jesus is going to ask something of you: when He will need your boat, your home, your skills, your friendship, your finances, you just as you are, to fish for Him.
What Jesus was asking Peter was ‘are you going to talk or are you going to fish?’ Jesus didn’t need everything to be perfect in Peter’s life to be able to use him, in fact it was his flaws that Jesus wanted the most, because they made Peter the man he was.
The call for Peter to put out to the deep water must have been frustrating. Peter thought he knew better, but he did it anyway because Jesus asked him, and Jesus wasn’t the kind of friend you say ‘no’ to. Jesus wanted to show Peter that when we make what we have available to Him, and we allow ourselves to become vulnerable to His requests (putting out into deep water) this is where God’s blessings are found.
Jesus asked Peter to trust His Word. To go against everything he had ever known, years of experience, knowledge and expertise. Everything he had learned in his life so far told him this wouldn’t work. He was in effect asking Simon to try again even though he had failed in the past. Something I have often struggled with in my own life; particularly in the area of trust, but this was an important lesson for Peter, and for us, not to allow past failure to keep him from serving the Lord.
God may at times ask you to try again, even if you have failed in the past. Will you allow past failure to keep you from following His requests?
The part that I particularly like comes towards the end of this story. When the nets fill with fish they are so full that Peter, and the men in the boat, can’t hold them and rather than let them struggle alone, Jesus allows them to call on their friends for help. James and Andrew bring their boat out and help draw in the catch. This shows us two things: firstly, that it’s good to call on reliable friends when we find ourselves at full stretch as the weight of Gods calling can at times feel overwhelming. He always places people around you to support you, you just have to look for them, like Peter who looked to the shore and called for help. Secondly, by sharing in the miracle that God was doing in Peter’s life, Andrew and James’s lives were transformed also. Through their friendship these men were also blessed.
Next time you have a ‘don’t look at me now’ moment, or your tempted to think that God won’t use you, because you don’t have everything perfect in your life, think about Peter. Out in deep water on his dirty boat. In this world the timing will never be perfect, and we will never get everything right but if we are will to say yes to God and go just as we are, God will do the miraculous, we just have to be available and next time you feel like your holding the net alone, look up and ask a friend for help, you never know what it may lead to.