Think of that season, that endless night, that you cast your net and each time you brought it back to the boat it was empty. You’re frustrated, angry, tired, disheartened, lacking in motivation to try it just one more time. Your arms and back ache from the casting and pulling! YOU have worked hard, put all YOU have into it this entire time! Just as Simon tells Jesus in Verse 5, “Master, WE have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything (emphasis added).” Because Simon was Simon (and his character and mine are so similar) and he did not have the Bible to understand what was happening here, I almost hear a sarcastic tone to his voice when he responds saying, “But because YOU say so, I will let down the nets (emphasis added).” I would hope Luke would have given me the same grace he gave Simon (later known as Peter) in this passage and would have left out all the smart remarks I would have mumbled under my breath as I prepared to let down the nets (that I have already so neatly packed away after sooooo many tireless hours of fishing, because that is what I am, a fisherman, that is my livelihood, my profession, fishing, day in and day out, I kinda know what I am doing, and yet you arrive on the scene and think you know everything there is to know and now I am going to have to wash these nets out all over again and do you know how long that takes, and so on, and so on).
And yet, in their SURRENDER, when they threw up their hands and said, we have done all WE can do, BUT BECAUSE YOU say so, we will do it Your way, Jesus. Verse 6, “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” These passages go on to tell us that with this surrender, Simon and his fellow fishermen were given such abundance that not only did they need another boat, both boats began to sink under the weight of the catch!
Often this “But because You say so…” reminds me of, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” Engaging in conversation with RoRo and Eline about their ministry in Haiti always comes back to this, “Not our will, but God’s. This is not our ministry, this is God’s. It was the full surrender to God’s will that they returned to Haiti after college, despite being offered a job that would have provided financial stability, physical security, and peace of mind. RoRo and Eline surrendered to a lifetime of financial uncertainty, country and spiritual unrest, being caught in the midst of dangerous situations, living under the rule of dictators, country lockdown, facing health epidemics and pandemics, food shortages, and more.
Much like Simon, RoRo and Eline had a choice: in full surrender, cast their net in the direction God was calling or knowing the impossible situation they were being asked to walk into, they would decide to pack up their net, call it a day, and go find comfort in something more reassuring. Even throughout the last 37 years, RoRo and Eline have had the option to hang up their net and call it quits. Let’s face it, ministering and living in Haiti is not easy. “But because you say so…” Because God has called them, has called all of us, to be like Christ, in full surrender, they cast their net each day! And each day, God abundantly supplies!