On Fishing, Fire and Breakfast

There is one thing I want more than other things. It is to be with my family: doing life together, worshiping and serving God together. Now for the third time, I have to leave my family again. I have failed for the umpteenth time to get a residence visa in Russia after working so hard for it. This visa would have allowed me to stay with my family for a longer time and be able to work and serve as a missionary.

We are feeling the rejection and disappointment. It hurts. The uncertainty makes us churlish and we don't like it. There is nothing pleasant about losing and failing.

The biblical account of Jesus' resurrection was muted and calm. He appeared twice to the disciples and yet, on the third time, they barely recognized him and still had that sombre, discouraged mood. The good news hadn't set in their hearts. No, not yet.

A few days before that, they had witnessed their Lord being mocked, beaten and crucified. Still a few more days before that crucifixion happened, their hopes and dreams were flying high. People hailed their Master king as he entered Jerusalem. It was a grand precedent of what His kingdom would be like, or so they thought. Then, He died. That totally changed the game. It dashed their hopes and dreams into the ground. They had become losers, or so they thought.

On Fishing

Oftentimes, the antidote to trauma is to crawl back to familiar territory. That morning, at the sea of Tiberias, the disciples operated on auto mode. Peter thought it better to do some fishing than to sulk around. And so they went fishing. All night. They fished and fished but caught nothing. I can just imagine what was going on in these disciples' minds while they drew up their nets and saw not even a single, small fish. "We caught nothing? So, what's new?" The recent happening was making their abject failure more painfully obvious to them. The empty net was like a dart piercing their already wounded heart. They were more aware of it than the physical tiredness and hunger that they were feeling.

I had gone fishing with my husband on many occasions and had witnessed him catching fish bigger and longer than my arm, and fish so many we had a hard time carrying them home. But one day stood out. It was the day we had fished all day and caught nothing. It was so disheartening. You get that sick feeling in your stomach that won't go away.

It's like any moment when you wanted something so much, so badly, and tried your best that you can almost feel success in the air. There might have been some setbacks but that burning desire in your heart kept you going and kept you reaching for that goal. Then the final verdict came, your best is not enough. You have failed. You lose. You are in a dark tunnel and can't find the light.

Then the disciples heard Someone call to them from the shore, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” 

When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. (John 21:5, 6)

Sometimes all it takes is a small shift, a change of perspective to turn our failures, our shortage into victory, into abundance. But in order to do that, we need to trust the Man on the shore and see what He is leading us into. We need to look at our circumstances with the eyes of the divine and see them all with the background of heaven.

On Fire and Breakfast

The disciples dragged their nets to shore certain now that they know the Man on the shore. When they got there, they found fire, and breakfast waiting for them. Jesus had grilled fish for them and broke bread with them. Then he invited them, "Come and have breakfast." (John 21:12). Just like that, their pity party turned to a genuine, but simple celebration of Jesus being alive, being with them.

Wow! How did this transformation happen? How did none turned to plenty? How did despair to turned to joy? It all came through with a change of perspective. They merely made a small shift to the other side of the boat and it changed the events that day.

Jesus cares for those disciples and knew exactly what they needed. He cares for us too and is always with us in the lowest points of our lives. He may not come exactly as He did with the disciples, with a fire to give warmth or a breakfast, but He comes, yes, He comes, with whatever it is we particularly need, and what we really need--- His presence.

Whatever 'fishing' you are doing, trust that God will come through. Trade your sorrows into a delight, your cold moments with His fire burning in your heart, your emptiness into a feast. Know that He is alive! Know that He cares.


  1. What a blessing! Thank you for this --- full of encouragement. I pray that the Lord keep that courage and faith in your heart.

    1. Thanks for the prayer, Bee. I appreciate it much.


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