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.

short + biblical + practical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

8 thoughts on “Frustration to Fulfillment

  1. Sean says:

    Gor me, literally this week with my work. The work load is intense and it shows no signs of slowing down. I want to do every task to the best that I can, but there is not enough time in a week. The people pleaser and pride in me is being hit hard.

    This devo hit hard and is a great reminder. I need to open my eyes and see more of what Gid is doing here.

  2. David Josker says:

    Praise God! Thank you Vince for another inspiring devotional. Looking to Jesus for his way.

  3. Todd Hansen says:

    Another great devo, Vince — and a great way to think about frustration and inconvenience. Like a “burr under the saddle,” Jesus is aiming to get our attention and obedience so we take our eyes off our problems and fix our eyes on the Author of our faith!

  4. Doug Wiley says:

    Frustration has always been a trigger of mine but when listening to the devotion today, a voice said to me it’s pride that’s your problem.

  5. Eddie says:

    The HARDEST part of maturing in anything is waiting. However, we are in good company when we have to wait, Abraham waited 13/14 years faithfully for THE son of the promise (Ishmael was 13 when Isaac was born, and Abraham was 100). David was anointed king at 15, but not crowned king until 40, so he waited 25 years for a promise from God to be fulfilled, even to the point of being hunted down and 3 times being almost impaled by his predecessor. Jesus didn’t start His public ministry from childhood, He didn’t start His public ministry until he was 30 years old. Then after 3 years of close contact with 12 other men, one of them betrayed Him to them, all for some silver. Waiting is a requirement for all of us and we are in good company when we wait as we are supposed to. This does not mean we do NOTHING while we wait, Abraham continued to follow God and left his homeland, David continued to be a good soldier and fight for his people, and Jesus lived a sinless life as an example of what to do, performing miracles and correcting bad teachings along the way.

  6. Tom Fredericks Sr. says:

    Thanks Vince! Another great reminder. I am once again stirred by the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, He MUST increase! I MUST decrease! There is NO other way! Keep declaring it! 🙌💪

  7. Trent says:

    Well spoken. Fit my life perfectly at the moment. I get very frustrated with all the “life”. I just want it to go away so I can do God stuff. My plan for God stuff and His plan may be different. Thy will not mine Lord. May my faith be big enough to know the difference right from the git go and to press head long into what you have for me. WITH PRAISE ON MY LIPS AND JOY IN MY HEART!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *