When he had finished speaking, he 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.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. Luke 5:4-7
I think it was Albert Einstein who once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. And who could argue with that thinking? It seems so right—often is so right. But what do we do when it’s God calling for the same road, calling us down the same path? And he’s saying, or maybe promising, or simply implying with his passionate imploring that this time…this time things will be different. This time the road re-traveled will end differently. This time the path well-trodden will lead us to a different destination.
Do I have the faith for this? Will I be so wildly foolish as to believe the same path can lead to a different place?
The world’s wisdom and God’s—they have different things to say about steps retraced, roads re-run. Who to believe? In the moment of now we all shout out with confidence that we will believe God. He knows best after all.
But what about when we’re tired? When we’ve been up all night working to no avail. When we just did what he says to do now and we know—we really just know—that it won’t end any differently. Will we have the faith then? Will we be willingly seen as foolish or crazy? Will we go and do what we just went and did and know, or at least hope, that because God is calling us that the road re-traveled will take us to something new?
Or maybe I’m missing the point completely. Jesus never tells Peter things will end differently. They do, we know now. But Jesus doesn’t promise that they will catch a huge load. He tells him to put down the nets to catch fish, but he doesn’t actually explain that they will catch any. Sometimes the road re-traveled will simply take us to the same end.
But are we the same for having traveled it twice? Are we unchanged for having walked in obedience, focusing not so much on how it ends as to the fact that we’ve been invited to travel?
I have said it before and I will keep saying it until my own heart starts hearing it: So much in our walk with Jesus is about the journey as much as the destination. Obviously, we are moving toward eternity and our goal is heaven and restoration and communion with the Father. But the journey holds much treasure. Progress isn’t always measured in distance traveled. With Jesus, sometimes it’s in the steps retraced. A walk down a familiar road to see myself more clearly, to see Jesus more fully, to practice obedience and trust. And sometimes, the destination will be different. It certainly was for the stubborn fisherman who practiced true trust and obeyed without regard.
“But if you say so…I will.”