Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Campfire: Second Evening

It's been a long (but hopefully rewarding!) day - so let's relax around the campfire with a thermos of hot chocolate (complete with mini marshmallows) and some more s'mores.

Did you enjoy the fishing today? How many of you actually caught fish? And if you didn't, did you still enjoy the experience??

We're going to continue the fishing theme with our devotional tonight. What does fishing have to do with humility? - you might ask...

Well, plenty, if you can't catch any fish! ;)

But seriously, let's consider a story about a fishing miracle:


Humility and Miracles

When you think of fishing in the Bible, do the gospels come to mind? Some of the disciples had been fishermen before Jesus found them, and were still found fishing even after Jesus died and rose from the dead. Consider the account in John 21, when some of the disciples went out fishing, but "that night they caught nothing" (v. 3). In the morning Jesus called out to them and asked, "Children, have ye any meat?" And they responded, "No" (v. 5). So Jesus told them to "cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find" - and "they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes" (v. 6).

The disciples had to admit that they had "failed." They hadn't caught any fish. Having spent hours at a time fishing with my family, I know that it really is disappointing when the fish aren't biting. It's humiliating to go out of your way to catch fish and then not catch any! And to think - we fish for pleasure. While fishing might have been "pleasant" in some sense to those disciples, I'm pretty sure that catching fish meant much more to them. It meant food. For some, it meant a livelihood and a way to provide for their families. So I'm guessing a night of catching nothing was not something to be proud of.

The disciples had to experience what it was like going a whole night without catching fish to truly experience the miracle of catching a ton of fish (153 fish, according to v. 11). Why?


The humbling thing about miracles is that they don't occur because of our own strength or genius or prowess. They occur because of God's power and goodness and love. They occur in order to bring God glory. Not us, but God.

About a year and a half ago I wrote about my very own Christmas miracle - the almost-horrible trip home for Christmas break that turned into an amazing testimony of God's provision. I met a friend who kept me company during the long wait at the San Francisco airport, helped us get a ride back to our hometown when our flight was cancelled, and watched out for me to make sure I was alright. The long delays, the flight cancellation, the late-night drive with virtual strangers... Nothing I could do was going to change the fact that I was not going to be able to fly home that day, nor the fact that unless someone reached out to me and helped me along, I was clueless. The miracle didn't point to my own intelligence or abilities. It pointed to God's mercy and the blessings of friendship that He gives us.

Your Turn!

Can you think of any other connections between fishing and humility? (Feel free to be creative and stretch the connections a bit!) Do you have any miracle stories that you can share with the rest of us that can remind us of how amazing God is?

4 comments:

Amanda Stanley said...

Amber, the way you put things into perspective really blesses the soul, you know that? Love what you shared here, my friend. Just like those disciples, we have to experience the need to appreciate the provision. Humility is learning, like Paul did, to be content in whatsoever state you're in.

As you know, last year was quite the year for my family and me. Brought low many times and facing great loss at every turn. Never in our Christian walk did we have to trust God more than we did last year, for everything. Even though as Christians you assume you rely on God for everything... well, God showed us that wasn't the case for us. We were never rich but we didn't want for anything either. It's humbling to wonder when and how a bill is going to get paid or how you're going to keep the roof over your head. It's also very humbling when you're faced with the mortality of your loved ones and even your pets, knowing you can't save or heal them. We had to rely on God for EVERYTHING - as it should be!

We had to go through those things. Jesus taught us so much. Our unconscious fallow ground and our unconscious pride was shaken and broken up like never before. We had to experience nights with an empty net to truly appreciate the power, love and faithfulness of our God to fill that net to overflowing.

While last year held the greatest trials the Stanley's have ever seen, it also held the greatest testimonies! Testimonies that would have never even possible without those trials. Even when things are bad God is still good. Even when things are hopeless God is still faithful. Even when your empty God is ready to make you full. Standing at the precipice of the valley of death opens your eyes to the depths Love will go to give you life.

I could go on and on but I'll stop before I digress any deeper, lol! ;-) It's a little later on my coast anyway so I'll just say goodnight. Thank you again for this important fishing lesson, my friend :-)

Blessings,
Amanda

Julie said...

Thank you for your fishing story. I have a miracle story:

When I was a young girl I was very very shy(still am in situations I am not comfortable or familiar with). My family and I had moved and I was faced with starting a new school. I was petrified! The first week in our new home my cousin and I had walked to a little convenience store. While walking a group of kids our age had accosted us and threatened us. I was scared to go to school for fear I would run into them. The first morning of school my mother dropped me off. She told me later that she raced over to a friends house in tears and asked her to pray with her. My mother said all she could think to pray over and over all day long was "Lord give her grace" I managed to make it through the day. I even made a friend. My last class of the day was PE and I saw my mom out in the parking lot so went over to the fence to talk to her. Told her I met a new friend and was so excited. When I got home my mom asked me what this new friends name was. Can you guess? I told her "her name is Grace" WOW! Talk about a literal answer to prayer! And talk about not only my mom's faith growing but when she told me about praying for grace, my faith grew too. I never forget that story, it is a great reminder of God's love and provision for us. I haven't had contact with Grace since those jr. high days, but isn't that the way God works? He gives us grace when we need it!

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Oh, dear friend - I could say the same about you! Your perspective is wonderful and humbling and beautiful. I am truly blessed to constantly see through your e-mails and your letters and your comments that you keep turning to the Lord in good times and extremely trying, painful times. I am humbled by your attitude - thank you for always pointing to God and always being ready to give Him the glory, no matter what! You truly are a gift, my friend. :)

God bless you!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julie,

That is amazing!! How very true, indeed - that God gives us grace when we need it! And that is such an awesome story about being given the friendship of Grace when your mom prayed for grace for you! What a beautiful example of motherly love and the love of God! :) It's so neat to have that memory to care with you to remind you of God's grace - thank you so much for sharing it here with us. :)

~Amber