I didn’t realize I was a control freak until my first child was born. Or maybe that’s when I became a control freak. Either way, I was bound and determined to do everything in my power to be the best and provide the best for my baby.
That’s a noble goal, but I was forgetting something. I’M NOT IN CONTROL.
My daughter, Lexi, liked to sleep on her stomach. GASP! The first week of her life, she would not sleep on her back. That was not in the plans! All the books said she had to sleep on her back. Had she not read those books?!
To ensure that she wouldn’t suffocate in her crib, she slept on my husband’s chest or my chest every night. We are not back-sleepers. But we were willing to sacrifice our own shut-eye for our baby.
After a week of waking up with back pain, we decided something had to give. I bought this monitor that comes with a sensor the baby is supposed to sleep on top of. If the baby doesn’t move for 10 seconds, the monitor goes off like a smoke alarm, rousing the parents and the baby. In theory, this is a nifty invention to prevent SIDS. In reality, no child is going to stay on the sensor all night, resulting in many false alarms that the child is DYING!
Who needs that kind of stress? Not me. I returned that monitor unused.
I mentioned our sleeping situation to our pediatrician, and he gave me the best parenting advice I’ve ever heard. “God made this child, and, if He wants to take the child back, He will.” Some parents might be offended by this kind of bluntness, but I needed to hear it. Yeah, I need to do everything within my power to keep my children safe and healthy. But not everything is within my power. Parental wisdom is recognizing what I can control and what I can’t.
That night I went home, put Lexi in her crib on her back and left whether or not she would die from SIDS up to God.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance between “making a plan” and “trusting God”. We are called to do both, but “trusting” God has to trump “the plan” if need be.
One morning Simon (a.k.a. Peter), a fisherman, was cleaning his nets after a hard night of fishing. He hadn’t caught anything all night. Simon was putting his gear away when Jesus asked him to take Him out on his boat.
I imagine Simon was exhausted from working all night. I imagine he was also frustrated he had nothing to show for it. And, if he was living pay check to pay check, he may also have been worried about providing for his basic needs that day.
By this time Jesus had caught the attention of a lot of people. Simon had certainly heard of Jesus – why else would he have willingly taken this guy out in his boat? And Simon probably supported Jesus’ message – why else would he have enabled Jesus to teach the crowd from his boat? And Simon definitely respected Jesus as a rabbi, as is evidenced by Simon calling Jesus “Master”.
So Simon obliged Jesus. He shoved off from the shore and let the teacher preach to the crowd for awhile.
When Jesus was finished teaching, He said to Simon, “’Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch,’” (Luke 5:4).
I can sense Simon rolling his tired eyes at this point.
I imagine him thinking, “Really, Jesus? Really? I’ve already been fishing these waters all night. The fish aren’t interested. Besides, you’re a CARPENTER. What do you know about fishing? Nothing, that’s what. This is a total waste of time, and I’m not doing it.”
We may never know what Simon was actually thinking, but we do have his surprising response to Jesus’ instructions. Luke 5:5 reads, “’Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’”
I wonder how long the pause was between those two sentences.
Simon’s plan was to fish all night, bring in a great haul, sell it at the market, and go home. But that’s not how the day had gone for him. Quite literally, God had stepped in and asked Simon to change his plans. Not only that, God had asked Simon to change from a logical plan to an illogical plan.
At that point, Simon had a choice: continue with his original plan or yield his plan to God’s.
If Simon had just gone home and slept, he would have missed the financial blessing of catching so many fish that his nets broke. But he also would have missed the spiritual mind-blowing that Jesus gave Him that day. Undoubtedly, Simon’s faith increased tremendously because of that experience.
Like Simon, maybe you’re doing what you are supposed to be doing, but you aren’t seeing any results. Maybe God is calling you to trust Him and change the plan. Maybe God is testing you. Will you let down the nets one more time just because God says to?
Take a page out of Simon’s book and obey, even if it makes no sense. You never know what life-changing, faith-increasing blessing may be waiting for you.
Thanks for the challenge. I think I just faced it through a situation my son was facing in his work. He wasn’t making enough money in his work and wondering if he should look elsewhere. But we both came to the conclusion that God was saying stay with the work and work it harder and trust God to bring the “catch.” I never thought of it in light of this episode from Peter’s life, but it sure seems to fit.