Brothers and Sisters,
I share with you from a book entitled Gospel Therapy by Bishop Bill Hockin, the passage entitled “When You’re Exhausted.”
Luke describes the very human experience of trying to do the right thing, working hard, trying to please everyone, and coming up empty, running out of energy, and hitting a wall. As it says in Luke, “we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”
A lot of people I know are feeling like this. Parents can feel like this. Volunteers in organizations and people in the church can feel like this especially now in this COVID 19 pandemic. These people are doing their best and putting out all that energy for seemingly little in the way of return. As a result, they become exhausted. Ever felt that way?
A few years ago, a young man arrived at the Church office door wishing to talk with a minister. I was there. He was in his thirties, told me he was an accountant working hard in a local firm, engaged to be married, and had put a deposit on a new condo. I was impressed as this seemed to be a man with his life together. “But,” he said with tears in his eyes, “there’s something tearing my life apart.”
He confessed that he had not been near a church in a very long time. While at University, he and his friends had decided that religion and God were for losers. Only technology and business could really answer all of life’s questions. “But,” he said, “two months ago my best friend died in a car accident and I am not handling it well. I’m not sleeping. I’m drinking too much and I’m depressed.” Looking at me through his tears, he said, “could I have been wrong about God?” Here was someone who had tried to cope with his losses on his own, with what was within, the things of the mind. He had worked hard but came up empty
Luke tells us a similar story about Simon Peter becoming a friend of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the story, Jesus was preaching by the Sea of Galilee and, because of the size of the crowds, he had asked a local fisherman if he could use his boat. He would push it out a little into the water and use it for a pulpit. The local fisherman, who was Peter, was on the shore cleaning his nets.
Jesus got into, Peter’s boat, and when the preaching time was over and the crowds went home for lunch, Jesus said to Peter, “Why not take your boats out into the lake and go fishing/” Peter looked at Jesus and responded with some frustration, “Master, we have tried all night and didn’t catch one fish.” However, in spite of all that, Peter said to Jesus, “But because you say so, I will take out the boat and try again.” We know what happened next. The fishermen went out and as soon as their nets hit the water, the fish were there. There were not just a few fish, but so many that it took three boats to bring them to shore.
There are important points in this gospel story. First, that we as human beings were never intended by our Creator to live life alone. Life is best lived in a relationship with God. There is in all of us a hunger for a spiritual presence in our lives, only the Holy Spirit can satisfy. Secondly, there is the importance of partnering with God. Peter’s success at fishing that day had everything to do with his willingness to enter a partnership with Jesus Christ. The third important point from this story is where Peter went to find his miracle. What he’s told to do is go out into “Deep water places” where we don’t want to go. The good news is that when we partner with Jesus Christ, we are never alone in these deep water places. In spite of the risk, there is this hand reaching out to us in case we fall. The importance of these deep water places in our lives is that these are the very places where something new and fresh can happen. They do not happen when we remain comfortably by the shore in two feet of water. That young man who came to see me and asked me that all-important question, “Could I have been wrong about God? connected with me again. He is doing a lot better now.
Prayer: Loving God, when I am exhausted, remind me of your presence and possibility. Remind me that I don’t have to do life on my own, nor do I have to enter deep water places on my own. Grant me the humility and grace to partner with you in all things Amen & Amen