When I put myself in Simon’s place in the boat with Jesus, I understand his objections to the Lord’s suggestion he lower his fishing nets into the deep areas of Lake Gennesaret. Peter’s trade was fishing. He supported his family on the craft and knew where the fish likely swam in thick schools when the winds blew from different directions, what times of day or night were best for hauling in full nets and what seasons were ideal. And he knew this lake well.
Jesus had no such skill or knowledge. He was a dazzling preacher and teacher, and maybe a skilled carpenter, but not a fisherman. So why should Simon take his advice about fishing?
Sometimes I object to God’s suggestions and guidance. I think I know best, despite the promptings of the Holy Spirit to go in a different direction.
God’s ways are not my ways. Sometimes God is constantly asking me to go where I’d rather not, to change when it is uncomfortable and to take risks when I am very afraid.
In prayer I listen in quiet for the movements of the Spirit within to lead me, often to uncomfortable, risky places.
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command we will lower the nets.” The result so astonished Simon and his buddies that they left everything, including their preconceived notions of how to live their lives, and followed him. This is what conversion is – a surrender of my entire being to God’s ways. Will I take the risk?
Jim Wayne is a board member of the Passionist Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office, state legislator, and author of The Unfinished Man. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.