Frustration to Fulfillment
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. — John 21:1-3
The entirety of this chapter marks one more appearance of Jesus. This instance must have stood out to John as an epic moment that he was not going to omit from the story. It's similar to one of those post-credit scenes at the end of a great movie that plays after the closing credits.
So, seven of the disciples decide to go fishing. At times, considering Peter's reinstatement, we might view "fishing" as a distraction from the mission Jesus gave. However, it's not. They need to eat and make money, just like we do. Thus, the disciples are simply carrying on responsibly as men with their lives.
But then, in verse three, John highlights this fact — "they caught nothing."
Sometimes, this is how Jesus works in my life, too. I strive to do everything just right and then end up with zero results. Usually, when this occurs, I adjust to get a better outcome. I try new locations, different bait, various speeds, and alternate angles. And, eventually, if nothing works — as was the case for these disciples — I become exasperated and want to quit.
But with age, I have discovered that frustrations and human irritations are usually Jesus's means of getting my attention. Yet, because I am so hooked on my goal, I cannot see his goal. I cannot see his way because I am so focused on trying to get my way. And then, my frustration becomes centered around me, my will, my objectives, and my methods — not his.
So here's the point. Go to work today. Make money. Eat and provide. But don't become so consumed with consuming that you miss the all-consuming God. And when you get frustrated, which you inevitably will, let those frustrations become a trigger. Let it trigger you to turn to Jesus, who is always watching from shore.
Reflect on a time when you've worked hard and came up empty — no results, just like the disciples' empty fishing nets. How did you respond to that disappointment? Can you see in retrospect how God might have been using that moment to redirect your focus or teach you something important?
Consider your daily responsibilities and efforts, whether at work, home, or in your community. How can you balance the necessity of these tasks with the need to remain open to God’s presence and guidance? What practical steps can you take to ensure your daily toil doesn’t overshadow your spiritual awareness and growth?
DO THIS: Let frustrations turn attention from you to Jesus.
PRAY THIS: Lord, teach me to find Your purpose in my empty nets, to trust in Your presence even when my efforts seem in vain. Help me not to be so consumed by my work that I miss You, the all-consuming One, guiding me from the shore.
PLAY THIS: All About Jesus.
SIGN UP — THE DAILY DEVO
short + biblical + practical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.