Friday, April 1, 2011

Cast down your nets

Sometimes you find things that seem like they had been written just for you. I found one of those gems in last month's Ensign. It is titled, "The Savior's Compassion." The witness that I received from this article was so strong, I knew I needed to put it down in writing.

The article begins with Jesus teaching the multitude, which was so great that he needed to stand in Peter's boat a few yards offshore so the people could all hear and see.

"As the crowd drifts away, Jesus elevates His request...We read His instruction to Peter: "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." Peter's response to Jesus's directive betrays surprise: "we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing." In a word, the fishing had been awful. But Peter seems to have learned that this man from Nazareth is one to be obeyed. So he continues, "nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net."

"Now comes the astonishing moment for Peter and Andrew..."when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes." How big is the catch? The large net...begins to break. In desperation, Peter yells to James and John to come and assist...In the end, after a lot of work, the fishermen heave the catch of fish into the two boats, almost sinking them...

"The question naturally arises, is the miracle simply an amazing demonstration of Jesus's enormous powers over the world of nature, or does the catch of fish carry an additional purpose? this question, in my view, brings us face to face with Jesus's deep compassion and concern for the families of the fishermen. And it is answered by deducing the answer to another question: what do they do with all that fish?

"...With this huge catch of fish preserved by salting, the families of the fishermen would have enough food to eat for months on end, as well as enough to bring to the marketplace in Capernaum...

"As He calls peter, Andrew, James, and John, Jesus is calling the breadwinners away from their families, who will struggle for food and income without these men...It is not hard to imagine Him compassionately doing more for these men and their families than meets the eye, as He so often does in our lives. In one stunning, momentous miracle witnessed by men whom Jesus will soon call into the apostleship, the needs of these families are met."

There are tremendous challenges facing all sides of our extended and immediate family right now. There are many, many days when I feel what Peter might have felt when Jesus asked him to try again for fish--tired, frustrated and hopeless after a long night's fruitless work. Yet Peter cast in his net again out of pure faith. The reward was immediate and amazing. More importantly, it was exactly what he needed to be able to continue following Christ.

Reading this new perspective on Jesus's miracle renewed my faith to cast in my net again and continue waiting for the things that Tyler and I need. It reminded me that Heavenly Father will not always bless us with what we want, when we want it, but He will always give us what we need when we genuinely need it, if we act in faith upon his words.

My faith still needs further strengthening--very often I still feel that frustration and hopelessness. Sometimes I become so tired that I want to give up. But the Lord has always resupplied the strength I need to keep exerting my faith, often in the form of my wonderful husband. His endless supply of optimism and courage is a true blessing to our little family!

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

~John Henry Newman