Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:2-3
These seven men had just endured a harrowing series of events that had culminated in the most unbelievable circumstances in the history of the human race. Over the last few days they'd been yanked unceremoniously back and forth through a range of extreme emotions; they'd had their minds jerked from one intellectually impossible reality to another.
Their three years of walking with God on earth had been abruptly interrupted by his death; then he'd reappeared, alive and well, in a body that could eat and then walk through walls; and now he was gone again, with only rumors of appearances here and there, and no news about when or if or how they would ever run into him again.
They must have been thoroughly confused.
They'd been told that God was at work, and that he wanted to involve them in his fishing business, but there had been no clear instructions, and now he was off somewhere doing something they were not a part of. All they could do was wait to wonder what in the world would happen next.
I know how Peter felt. I've walked with God too. I've seen him do amazing things. I've heard him tell me wondrous truths. I've thought I understood him, then had my understanding turned on its head and back again.
But not today.
Today he doesn't seem to be around, and I am simply existing: doing laundry, babysitting grandchildren, looking out my window at a dreary day, and waiting. For something. I don't know what. The world needs fixing, and here I sit, with a dull, guilty ache in my gut because I have no idea what eternally significant thing God wants me to do today, and I only have half an ambition to try to find out.
So Peter decides to go fishing, and I wash the dishes. At least we are doing something constructive. Peter catches nothing, and my dishes are just going to get dirty again.
But God is still at work in Peter's world, and he's about to show up. He's about to appear on the shore, give encouragement, cook some breakfast for his friends, and affirm his calling of them as fishers of men. We know this because we have before us the historical record of the amazingly significant events Peter ends up being involved in after that empty waiting time.
I believe the Lord will show up again in my world too. Meanwhile, it's somehow comforting to know I'm not the only one who has ever had one of those days.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come. . . 2 Peter 3:8-10a