Can you obey while doubting God?
And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
Even while doubting in his heart and not understanding how it would be worth the effort, Simon Peter obeyed.
It makes me feel good, knowing that someone so close to Jesus could still doubt before obeying.
You see, each time the Lord asks me to obey, my flesh wants to push back and disobey. I want to make excuses, come up with reasons why what the Lord is asking me wouldn’t work. I begin to doubt my own ability and worry about what others might think.
Honestly, I doubt that God truly has everything under control.
Sometimes I hear Him clearly, yet I play that game in my mind—oh you know the one—when you ask yourself, “Was it really a God idea or my idea?” And then you sit and wait and wait…
Yet Peter (still called Simon at this point) simply obeyed even while doubting Jesus’ abilities.
Scriptures point out they had fished all night long yet got nothing in return. I can feel the same way with the tasks God has called me to do. Working long and hard to obey and do what He has asked yet getting nothing in return.
“Lord, I don’t know why you want me to talk to them again. I have talked until I’m blue in the face and they won’t listen.”
“Lord, I don’t know why you want me to keep teaching this Bible study. I don’t see any change in my students’ lives.”
“Lord, why do you want me to keep doing laundry? These clothes just keep piling up!”
“Lord, why should I forgive them over again? I know they are going to continue to do it and continue to hurt me.”
“Lord, my quiet time is stale, and I feel like you are distant from me. Why should I keep trying to hear from You?”
Yet, he (Peter) obeyed.
“When they had done so, (casted their nets on the other side of the boat like Jesus asked) they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. So they signaled to 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.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees.
“Go away from me, Lord,” he said, “for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:6-8).
After Jesus performed a miracle, Simon Peter fell at the feet of Jesus in shame of his doubt, realizing his sin, in contrast to this God man, whom even the fish of the sea obey!
What man toiled all night to make happen, Jesus simply spoke. More than they could ever hope for materialized before their very eyes!
Because of his obedience, Jesus changed his entire future!
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus said to Simon, “from now on you will catch men.” And when they had brought their boats ashore, they left everything and followed Him (Luke 5:10-11).
No longer was Simon Peter going to be a fisherman, but he was going to fishing for men, lost men drifting in a sea of darkness, bringing them into the safety net of Jesus Christ, the one true light of the world!
Now, let’s not overlook Simon Peter’s response. After all, he had a choice to make. 1) Was he going to follow this Jesus or 2) Was he going to take the biggest catch of his life, sell it for money and keep living life as usual (just a little richer)?
This encounter with Jesus changed him. Simon no longer cared about fishing. He only wanted to know Jesus more and obey him.
You see, when we obey, even in our doubt, God brings about change in our lives. It may not be change that instantly manifests itself like it did for Peter, but how many long nights of fishing did he have to go through before this night? How long had he scrapped by, barely making ends meet?
When we obey, God blesses.
Only Jesus can make a miracle. Only Jesus can bring to life something that was once dead. Maybe the time for new life hasn’t come yet. Maybe the miracle is in the waiting or just around the corner.
But rest assured, it’s coming, and His timing is perfect! For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9).
Hang on to that promise today!