Courage For A Hopeful Future
I’ve been watching some highlights from a Prophetic Summit Conference. Some of my favorite prophetic and apostolic leaders spoke.
The looming question: What is God saying for 2021?
This past year was one of refinement. It’s taken every bit of courage and bravery for us to even consider peering around the corner of a new year.
Looking ahead, we must maintain a positive outlook for a hopeful future. The enemy’s main goal is to wipe out your expectation and hope.
But before we can look ahead, we must understand the lessons 2020 taught us.
I spoke this week to our women’s group about one of my favorite Bible stories. In John chapter 21, Jesus’ apostles returned to their fishing businesses out of despair. They could not see a future without Jesus in it and couldn’t move forward into their new lives, now changed forever by Him.
Imagine the scene: They returned to their old life (human wisdom and will, fleshly living), and in their own strength, they were unable to accomplish God’s will for them.
But in this passage, Jesus was restoring and re-commissioning His apostles who had fled at His arrest (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50), reminding them of their calling.
Just three short years earlier, Jesus was beginning His earthly ministry and was teaching and preaching God’s Word near the Sea of Galilee. He met Simon Peter, a fisherman and told him, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch of fish” (Luke 5:4).
Simon answered, “Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net” (verse 5). Verses 6 and 7 explain: “And when they had done this, they gathered a great multitude of fish: and their nets broke. They had to call their partners, who were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. They came and filled both the ships, so much so that they began to sink.” When Jesus gave the word, the apostles caught enough fish to sink their boats!
Now fast-forward back to John chapter 21, here they are again, throwing their nets on the right side of the ship. The apostles did not recognize Jesus standing on the shore (John 21:4), but when He gave the word for them to fish, the miracle of the enormous catch occurred and John remembered what happened when He originally called them.
Peter, beside himself with awe and love for the Master, jumped into the water to reach Jesus quickly.
This scene makes me cry every time. There is Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, cooking a little fish breakfast for them on the shore. I can imagine Peter hurling himself into Jesus’ arms.
But let’s remember, in Luke 5, when Jesus had first called brothers Peter and Andrew and brothers James and John, all experienced fishermen, they had just fished all night and caught nothing. Peter confessed to Jesus he was discouraged, but he would still do as Jesus said. How amazing that once they obeyed Christ’s words, their nets broke because the catch was so large!
And Jesus told Peter, “Fear not; from now on you will catch men” (verse 10).
In the context of John chapter 21, the apostles had been fishing on the same Sea of Galilee. Now three years later in Christ’s absence, the apostles found themselves in the same predicament: catching nothing. But when Jesus arrived and told them to cast again, their two boats literally began to sink with fish!
Before Peter even became an apostle, he had already learned from Jesus that God’s Word was the key to catching multitudes of fishes. In the case of his apostleship, God’s Word, not fleshly efforts, was the key to catching multitudes of souls! He and the other apostles had forgotten this very important lesson and they learned it again in John chapter 21, by obeying Jesus’ word and trying again.
In verse 12, Jesus said to them, “Come and dine.” Jesus was teaching them a very important lesson. After such devastated events: Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, they felt alone. Hopeless. Wandering without direction.
But Jesus showed up and said, “Launch out into the deep.” And then, “Dine with Me, I am the Bread of Life.”
Peter knew from three years earlier that the Lord had showed them the same miracle to get their attention. But this time, it was to show them that He would enable them to be fishers of men.
The lesson learned was that they knew they could trust Him at His Word.
Let’s not forget the lessons of 2020. God is trustworthy. He makes a way where there doesn’t seem to be a way. He provides when we are in despair. Just be obedient to His Word.
There is still a hopeful future for 2021.