Do you ever get frustrated? There are all sorts of things in our lives that can cause frustration. I deal with it constantly. For this reason, one chapter in Max Lucado’s book “In the Eye of the Storm” really struck home with me. He makes a relevant point applicable to most Christians.
In the chapter, Max writes of a long-anticipated fishing trip that was to take place during a break in his college schedule. Big plans were made, class work completed, camping gear was packed until, at last, the day of departure had arrived. Upon setting up camp, a cold front moved in. The first day of the fishing trip was spent inside a camper trying to keep warm, reading Reader’s Digest and playing monopoly, but the anticipation of tomorrow’s possibilities were still strong.
Unfortunately, tomorrow was more of the same, as was each following day.
With each day, the want-to-be fishermen became more and more frustrated. Pretty soon, little things the others did began getting on each of their nerves, until relationships became strained. Finally, their hopes for tomorrow’s possibilities were spent and all three were more than ready to pack it in, having never gotten their lines wet.
Max Lucado’s point was that they were supposed to be fishing, yet they were not fulfilling their purpose for being there.
In much the same way, we in the church, find ourselves frustrated with people and situations within the church. We are called to be fishers of people, yet when we are not fishing, we become preoccupied with other things in life, we become frustrated often with one another. We naturally become frustrated when we are not fulfilling that which we are meant to be doing. We find ourselves, nit picking about non-essentials, while permitting those things of eternal significance to be left undone.
So, I ask myself, “How many of my frustrations are a result of being preoccupied with the insignificant and the temporal?” How many of my frustrations would be avoided if I were fulfilling the calling of being a fisher of men, women and children?
I look at all the ministries of Tyner U.M.C. and the many people of the Tyner family as well as the resources available to us. Whether it be serving a ministry team within the church, keeping children, cleaning the kitchen, preparing donuts for Sunday morning, knitting prayer shawls, feeding the homeless, teaching children, youth, or adults, Tyner Travelers, and the list goes on and on, all are needed for most effectively fishing for people.
All four gospels record Christ calling his disciples and telling them that they will be fishers of men. We are Christ’s disciples as well. Be fisher’s of men, women, and children. “You catch ‘em, He’ll clean ‘em.” So, how’s your catch? Or are you a frustrated fisherman?
Your Fellow Fisherman,
God is a way maker.
God is a miracle worker.
God is a promise keeper.
God is the light in the darkness.
The Word of God declares these statements, the Spirit of God affirms these truths, but as followers of Jesus, do we live by them? As we consider this question, we’ll be reflecting on Isaiah 43 and the worship song “Way Maker” by Leeland. If you have a moment, read Isaiah 43 first. Listen to the worship song as well, or maybe as you read through.
Have you ever found yourself in a place in life when you think, “I don’t know where to go from here” or “I’m not sure if I’ll make it through this”? Have you ever needed a miracle? I think most of us can relate to these feelings. Not in the same ways, but we have all known what it means to struggle. That is part of having faith in God. That is what it means to have faith: to have hope and confidence in the promises of God even when we can’t see a way forward or how we can be forgiven or how our wounds can be healed.
The Israelites dealt with the same issues throughout the Old Testament, both as individuals and as a people. The exodus from Egypt is a story of God miraculously making a way for His children. If we could be in their shoes (or sandals), I’m sure we would have known the oppression they felt, their overwhelming sense of hopelessness, the confusion over where God has been in their lives. But God made a way. He kept His promise to lead them to a better future. When nature and their own understanding stood in the way, God worked miracles. He split the sea so Israel could walk through. When they wandered in the wilderness, God went before them as a pillar of fire and cloud, a light in the darkness.
Isaiah 43:16-19 tells us,
This is what the LORD says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah shares this with Israel centuries after the exodus. Even still, it is a powerful reminder to Israel (and to us) that God is a way maker. If we consider the context of Isaiah, we see that Isaiah is prophesying about the Babylonian captivity, a period in Israel’s history when they would be carried off to a foreign land as prisoners for decades. But when he says this, it is over a hundred years before that will happen. So, a century before any Israelite has been carried off to Babylon, before their trial has ever begun, God has promised to make a way. There is a powerful reminder for us today here: we may not know what trials wait for us in the future, but we know we serve a God who has promised to lead us through them.
The people of Israel spent a lot of time struggling in the wilderness or in captivity. As followers of Jesus, we can’t fully relate to living 40 years in the desert before the time of electricity or modern convenience. But most of us know someone battling cancer. Believers and friends and family are held captive by depression. Many have been affected by the pain of childlessness, miscarriage, marital struggles, or divorce. Others are lost in their faith, unsure of how to return to the Father. Some have experienced loss. The loss of a dream, a spouse, or a child. There are so many ways we can experience pain and difficulty in our lives.
Maybe you’re really struggling today. Maybe you’re in a great place. Maybe a friend or family member is in a tough place. Whatever the circumstance, know that God is making a way in the wilderness, and He will restore streams of living water to the wasteland. Rest in the knowledge that God is a way maker, a miracle worker, a promise keeper, and a light in the darkness.
When you feel defeated, trapped, or just exhausted . . . God is a way maker.
When you don’t see any way to get through this . . . God is a miracle worker.
When you don’t know how to trust anymore . . . God is a promise keeper.
When everything around you is dark . . . God is a light in the darkness.
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We’re praying for you!