A group of friends set out to go fishing one night. These men had been through so much together, but fishing was one of their favorite things. They had been promised to be more than just fishermen, but fishers of men.
This venture, of just fish, was rather unsuccessful, as they had caught absolutely nothing all night! A man from the shore called out to them at a crack of dawn, "Do you have any fish?" After telling him "no," the man told them to cast their net on the right side, promising that they would catch their full. As the light of morning broke the horizon, John, one of the fishermen, said, "It is the Lord!" Upon hearing this, his friend Peter threw himself into the sea to meet the Lord Jesus. (John 21:1-14)
Peter had gotten into the sea with Jesus before, but it didn't exactly end well. Zealously, he jumped out onto the stormy sea to meet the Christ who was walking on the water. However, he became afraid and doubted, crying out to Jesus, who asked him, "O you of little faith, why do you doubt?" (Matthew 14:22-33) And yet, after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter is willing to throw himself into the sea, being sure that it is the Lord.
Not to be the broken record of every twenty-something year old out there, but I have no idea what the future holds. Sipping $6 coffee from a "Jeremiah 29:11" mug isn't going to reveal God's will. I have certainly drowned in doubt before. I've seen opportunities fall through and my ambitions fail, though I know they had the hand of God on them prior. I wonder if Peter blamed Jesus for his sinking, though it was his doubt that failed him?
I had the opportunity to take part in a missions training outside of my internship here in Athens. One of the exercises was to take Hebrews 11 and reflect on what has been done in your life by faith. Though my thoughts were very sheepish at the beginning, the Lord shepherded my confidence and "By faith, Sarah Mae..." came out, line after line. Dream after dream that the Lord has brought to fruition, horrible situations that He has redeemed, choices that the Spirit led me to make, and friendships that have produced an abundance of fruit were all right before my eyes.
I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, as I and my generation love to do, when I saw this quote from my favorite singer/songwriter:
"Faith is only possible when doubt is possible. Faith is only possible when humility and wonder is possible." -Jon Foreman
Faith is only possible when we could fail; faith is only possible when the unknowns are great. I think about every person to whom Jesus said, "Your faith has healed you", and how scary it could be to go up to a Nazarene who made great claims and in faith be healed by him. What would it look like if we lived in a posture of faith, a posture of humility, a posture of wonder.
In thinking about Peter, faith was only possible when he could drown. To begin chapter 11, the writer of Hebrews says:
"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Peter, by faith, hearing the voice of the Lord and being sure that it was the Lord, threw himself into the sea. Swimming away from failure of the night's fishing attempt, he swam toward Jesus.
But the story doesn't end there.
By faith, the disciples cast their nets on the right side and caught an abundance, so much that they could not haul in the great number of fish. When we submit ourselves to the voice of Jesus by faith, he gives in abundance and in wonder.
However, we don't always have the privilege of seeing this in this life. At the end of Hebrews 11, we are told that they did not get to see the fulfillment of God's promises. Yet, if we could see everything the Lord is at work in, it would not be faith that drives us, but knowledge. Recently, a strong woman of the Lord said to me,
"Just as young trees have no fruit yet, they have life in them and are growing to produce fruit. Do not doubt the goodness that the Lord is doing just because you cannot see it yet."
This is the place where faith can occur: we trust whether we can see the Lord or not. By placing our faith in the steadfast character of Jesus, we trust even if we cannot see the fruition of His works. By listening to the voice of God to the point of throwing ourselves into faith, we trust, not choosing not to drown by fear and doubt.
Faith is possible when we submit ourselves to the goodness of the Lord.