“Children, do you have any food?” They must have groaned. What else was on their minds except that they had failed to find any fish? Fishing all night, trying their best. Working, sweating through the darkness. Grunting in the hush of dawn.
Have any food? Despite their best efforts, no. They did not. A man stood on the shore and rubbed the sore spot: "Children," (Did that chafe those burly men? Or did they realize it was Him?) "Do you have any food?" Not fish — what they were looking for, but food. Fish, they caught for money to buy food to nourish themselves. Food? Certainly not. We're still back at fish.
"Cast your nets again." No protest this time. They must have remembered this one. The same story, the same nets, the same sea, the same boat. Or close to it. But different people. Before, they were fishermen. Now? They are children. Ready for the miraculous. Ready to obey. Déjà vu, this is it. They let down their nets.
The sudden strain, the roiling of the water, the pulling on their hands. Did these children grin and giggle with expected delight? Did they thrill at seeing, feeling, pulling abundance again? I think so.
And there it was: too much to pull in. Too much to handle. Too much to know what to do with. John bursts out with what they all know — "It's the Lord!" and Peter immediately throws his cloak off and himself into the sea — he knows this one too. Go to Him, no matter the obstacles. The fish are not the point anymore. That Man on the shore — He is.
The rest continue their dragging, then leave the boat and the net writhing by the shore. And there, in front of them, their Lord with not just fish, but food. Already prepared, ready to feed the hungry children.
"Bring the fish you've just caught." Immediately, Peter is back in the water heaving what the rest of them could not pull into the boat. He drags it, laboring, onto the hot sand. Not exactly the best practice, but the net wasn't torn. Did they all kneel down and joyously count the catch? They must have, there were 153 fish, more than they needed.
Mama, have you fished all night and caught nothing? The long days, the interrupted nights, the terrible attitudes, the dark and stormy family dynamics as you work through the night with your husband? Is he just as tired as you, or, worse, has no idea? Do you long for dawn but know that soul deep hunger is waiting in the morning? Mama, are you tired?
If He asked you, would you cast your net again? Try again to bring the gospel to little ears, try again to make a meal, try again to switch the laundry? You know it's not worth trying, you know that exhaustion waits in the dryer. But you also know Him. You have seen Him, known Him, He's been alongside. He knows your weariness through and through.
Let your soul recount this faithfulness. Let your heart remember His love. It's dawn and He's on the shore. Come, before the house wakes up. Cast your net and let Him fill your soul.
There will be more than there was all night, because He is on the shore.
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