Hopelessness is living beyond optimism, usually when facing something impossible to accomplish, solve or resolve. It fills you with an incapacity to respond positively.
Hopelessness bombards the core of one’s faith and undermines purpose.
In these last few weeks, a tsunami of seemingly hopeless situations have been slamming the physical bodies, homes, marriages and ministries of people whom I love deeply.
Hopeless, that is, apart from the I AM!
No Ordinary Day
The day started out ordinary enough. Or was it? After an exhausting night of unsuccessful fishing, Simon and his partners were cleaning their nets before grabbing a few hours rest and going out again. No fish! No pay! He knew the financial pressures of operating a business.
As Jesus walked by, he was being pressed by an overly enthusiastic crowd. They were wanting to hear the word of God.
I have never experienced such hunger for the Word of God!
Sounds like the makings of true revival to me!
Jesus looked around.
“He saw at the water’s edge two boats,
left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.”
Luke 5: 2
Historians say there would have been 4,000 fishing boats along the shore on that particular day. Jesus took note of two of them!
Jesus has a purpose for everything. He approaches Simon and asks him to push from shore. Here Jesus would have a safe place to teach from in nature’s amphitheater to project his voice. The weary fisherman became a captive audience of one within arm’s reach of “the Master” who made fish and water.
“When he had finished speaking,
he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water,
and let down the nets for a catch.”
I can imagine the look on Simon’s face as Jesus pulled back the obstructing veil between possible and impossible.
The hopeless know all too well the detailed facts weighing them down! Deep water? Simon had been out in deep water for hour after long fruitless hour. The failure to catch even one single fish had been rehearsed in his mind all morning. His discouragement was amplified through his frayed emotions and a fatigued body. He admits defeat,
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night
and haven’t caught anything.”
We’ve worked hard! We’ve worked long!
Moments seem like hours, slowly ticking by as we
fight for marriages, health or a prodigal’s return
believing against hope
unmoved by the well-aimed arrows of the enemy…
and yet, it produced nothing…
Here we stand with empty nets and hands…
How long has it been since hope was a consistent reality? What the darkness of night didn’t rob, the heat of the day has drained away.
The King James Version says, “Nevertheless“. I love it! Nevertheless! My NIV says, “But!”
“But because you say so,”
This one little word means “by way of opposition and distinction. It is added to statements opposed to a preceding statement.” The previous statement held the facts, “but” the Truth looked beyond Simon’s eyes to his weary soul.
Jesus’ request made no sense at all! If you can’t catch fish after working ALL night, how can one possibly hope to succeed in broad daylight!
“But because you say so, I will.”
One definition of insanity is doing what you have always done expecting different results.
Simon surrendered to Jesus in the depth of his hopelessness. A man’s inability to provide for himself and his family leaves him with a sense of inadequacy and failure.
As I examine my life, I have to ask,
Where am I feeling the deepest sense of inadequacy and failure?
A relationship, a challenging position, a difficult task,
a terminal prognosis….
Where is God inviting me to enter “the deep” and try again?
What Jesus is asking of me at times seems impossible, unreasonable, and beyond my capacity to fulfill!
Will I like Simon say,
But because you say so, I will.”
Obedience? Yes, obedience. The outcome is God’s part; obeying is mine.
“When they had done so,
they caught such a large number of fish
that their nets began to break.
So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them,
and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”
Insane maybe! Nevertheless, Simon’s act of obedience in the face of the impossible set him up for a miracle of maximum capacity. The nets could hold no more! Not one more fish!
Our greatest ally can be fear, as it draws us into a reverent submission and worship. Having his hopelessness uncovered was one thing! The grace of God exposed every sinful point.
“He fell at Jesus’ knees and said,
“Go away from me,
Lord’ I am a sinful man!”
I can relate!
Just recently there was far more month than paycheck. I had no tangible way of meeting a mortgage payment. Many times, I had prayed for provision. Each day looked bleaker than the day before. In the morning I tearfully vented my frustration and honestly processed the hopeless and helpless position I was in.
The evening of that same day, God’s grace broke through in miraculous fashion. Now I found myself on my face repenting for my lack of faith and trust. In the awareness of undeserved favour, tears of gratitude flowed unhindered.
Godly fear draws us close to Jesus; paralyzing fear keeps us from Him and all He has for us. Crippling and isolating fears of
failure, bankruptcy, or death,
commitment or intimacy,
abandonment or rejection,
wasted life and purpose,
not finishing well or pleasing God.
“Then Jesus said to Simon,
“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.
So they pulled their boats up on shore,
left everything and followed him.”
Simon left the sea and the life he knew well. It was a life that prepared him for what was to come.
Jesus helped Simon to confront his fears, failures, and hopelessness. Simon’s obedience became a life transforming moment.
Never again would Simon fish for a living. From now on he would serve God. Jesus gave Simon what he thought he wanted, so he would discover what he really needed. The Saviour came calling; Simon responded,
“But because you say so, I will.”
“But!” The little word that sits between two opposing realities!
“With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.”
The impossible of man becomes the I Am possible of God!
Further Reading: Meeting God in the Ordinary – From Common to Holy