What you are praying for may be just around the corner.
Hannah and I recently took a trip to Mexico for our anniversary. On the trip she scheduled a charter for a morning of fishing. It was only my second time to go deep sea fishing and I was looking forward to it.
But when we approached the boat in the harbor I was less than impressed. It was the size of a life boat. Honestly, I was a little nervous to be out on the open water in such a small boat. But hey, we didn’t come this far to turn around and go back so we loaded up and headed out with our captain.
It was a beautiful morning and the waves on the Pacific coast were big. It ended up being a slow morning of fishing, we hadn’t caught anything all day. As time was starting to run out we decided to head back in. But our captain didn’t give up. He placed new live bait on the center line, strung the other lines and pointed the ship back to shore.
As we were trolling back into the harbor I was just soaking in the environment. The weather was beautiful and I spent the time in prayer, praying for various things back home, thanking God for His faithfulness.
You see 2 years before this we were in the hospital praying for the lives of our sons, spending a large amount of time in the hospital. The following year we were fighting medical debt and in a tough spot financially. Because of this we had to move from the city to the country.
We had just been through a 2+ year storm in our personal life and I was just happy to be there.
Storms make you appreciate the moments of peace.
We were in route to the harbor accepting our defeat when all of a sudden we could hear the reel of one of the lines screaming. I was inexperienced and didn’t know how significant it was. I had only caught small fish on a previous trip. But my captain knew exactly what it was, he jumped up and went into action.
He grabbed the rod, slammed the hook into place and handed it to me.
“Reel! Reel!” he yelled.
I didn’t know what was on the end of that line but it felt like a car. Our boat was so small that we didn’t even have a legitimate seat or a harness for the rod. I grabbed the pole and started reeling with everything I had.
Sure enough, not too long after I had started reeling a marlin jumped out of the water.
After some time of fighting we finally had the fish up to the boat, my captain grabbed his fishing gaff and pulled it on board. It was an 8 foot striped marlin weighing in at over 120 lbs.
I may have been on vacation but God was taking me to school.
He loves to do big things with limited resources. We didn’t have the money for a large charter with all the bells and whistles, but we showed up and went fishing nonetheless. Rather than being scared of the small boat we still ventured out of the safety of the harbor. We followed the lead of our captain. After a long time of fishing and having caught nothing we had all but given up, however God had something big coming. A fish larger than we had hoped for or even dreamed of ended up in our boat that day.
There is a passage in John 21 where a few disciples have a similar experience with Jesus. They were fishing and had caught nothing all day… then Jesus shows up. He tells them to try a different technique, to cast their net on the right side of the boat. Of course, the advice works and they end up bringing in a catch larger than they could have imagined.
I love this passage because it destroys the idol of methodology. We build idols of programs and process, thinking that things have to be done a certain way. We end up worshiping our techniques rather than the God that provides the fish we are looking for. What mattered is that Jesus was with them and He was their captain, they just needed to listen and obey.
God has big things coming.
Christmas is a great season but it can also be painful. You may be waiting on God for a job or a spouse. You may be struggling with infertility. You may be in the middle of a financial storm or maybe your marriage is on the verge of failure. Christmas can be a time where, if we are in a season of waiting, it amplifies our awareness of internal grief and sorrow because we are surrounded by a season of joy.
I have been asked at Christmas time when I was going to get married. Hannah and I have had to endure questions about kids when we were struggling with infertility. I have been in a financial storm at Christmas wondering if we would make it through. We have been in the hospital during the holidays. We have gone through difficult times in our marriage.
I have been there.
But guess what, the captain of my ship is stronger than I am. He can calm even the wind and the waves. He can land the largest fish and He can do it for you too.
This season is a reminder of God’s fulfillment. Literally, the Advent season is a time where we celebrate the fulfillment of messianic prophecy in Jesus. That God the Father sent Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. This season is a reminder that God not only makes promises but He keeps them. That He cares deeply about the longing of our hearts and He is there to lead us through any season or storm.
All year I have been speaking to signs, storms and seasons. Big things are coming. Nothing has changed, we are still on track and I will share more after the new year. But I wanted to take pause and focus on the reason for this Advent season, Jesus.
Consider the message the angels gave to the shepherds in announcement of the birth of Christ.
“They (the shepherds) were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:9-12
A sign, in season, would lead both the shepherds and mystics (wisemen) to the Christ child. John the Baptist prepared the way, Anna and Simeon were waiting. Fulfillment had finally come.
Whatever season you find yourself in this Christmas know that God cares. You never know what may be around the corner, it may just be the catch of a lifetime.