Healing at the lake, Part 3

But Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid”

Luke 5:4-10 Jesus said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” This time the nets were so full of fish they began to tear! … When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” … Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid.”

Romans 8:1-2 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. … The life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin. … Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

The sun grew warm as I built a sandcastle with my brother and sisters. I took off my sweater and laid it on a rock. After a while, we ran to the lake to splash in the waves lapping the shore. When I returned, my sweater was gone.

Shutterstock: Pressmaster

My seven-year-old heart was terrified to tell my mother I had lost my sweater. I delayed returning to our vacation house for as long as I could. Thus I was doubly in trouble, not only for my carelessness but for not showing up in time to help with lunch. I was denied lunch and grounded for the remaining day and a half of our vacation. But what hurt most were the words my mother poured out on me, and the tone of those words. I’m not sure I learned to be more responsible. I do know my fear of her dug even deeper roots into my soul.

It’s natural for a child to project that experience of fear onto God, to assume God is like our parents or other authority figures who haven’t known how to support and encourage us. The breakthrough, healing moments (I’ll tell about one of them in the next post) come from discovery that Jesus isn’t like them. That’s what Simon learned.

“The Chosen” depicts Simon in BIG trouble over his debt to the Roman government. The miraculous catch of fish more than paid Simon’s taxes. It freed him to give up fishing and follow Jesus.

But Simon had an even bigger debt, the debt of his sin, which made him ashamed to come close to the Holy One. Dane Ortlund in his precious book Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, points out in almost every chapter that the only safe thing to do with ourselves when we recognize our sin is to go straight to Jesus. Remember the story in John 8 of the woman caught in adultery? (No mention is made of the man … apparently, she was committing adultery by herself.) Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

Compassion. That’s what we’ll find when we go to Jesus in our sin. He weeps over the wounding that takes place within us and in others when we sin. He wants to free us from sin’s devastating impact.

Ortlund says (page 174), “His love is great because it surges forward all the more when the beloved is threatened, even if threatened as a result of its own folly.” I wish for courage this Lent, for you and for me, to trust Jesus’s heart of love, his compassion, his gentleness, his longing to connect with us, to free and heal us. Hear him say to you as he did to Simon, “Don’t be afraid.”

2 thoughts on “Healing at the lake, Part 3

  1. I’m at the end of the day right now and tired. I was touched by your blog. I was a little irritable with a one or two people in my tiredness. Thanks for the reminder to be compassionate and let God deal with my frustrations and tiredness rather than taking it out on someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s