For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon. "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
- Luke 5:9-11
Some days it is nearly impossible to bring the boat ashore, putting everything aside to follow Jesus. I cling to my doubt and hesitation. "But what if the waters don't carry any fish?" I ask. It's comforting to know that I am in good company. At least the disciples can relate to me!
Simon questioned Jesus' order to put out his nets for a catch. After all, he had been working all night without a single bite, he thought, there was just nothing out there. But Simon was wrong. More than this, he was surprised. His nets began to rip at the seams and his boat started to sink. His original skepticism quickly turned to faith. Who knew! Those waters were chock full of fish!
A part of my job description as intern pastor at Bratislava International Church is also "religion teacher." Two days a week, four classes a day, I teach, facilitate, and work to guide young Slovak students through questions of faith. Some of them come with doubts, skepticism and uncertainty. Others come with complete trust, obedience and faith. But all of them come with questions. They are like Simon, living in spiritual tension between their hesitation and their eagerness to throw in the nets and see what happens.
I am learning from my students that regardless of one's age, culture or language, we all come to the same table, or in this case the same shore, with our hesitations about God's power and love in our lives and in the world. Thankfully, we are met by Jesus, who tells us to cast out the net and see what happens, to give up everything and follow him. We need nothing for the journey. Our faith will clothe us, feed us and nurture us. And in the midst of our very human doubt and hesitation, we find ourselves mysteriously swimming in the wondrous grace of God!