Thursday, January 5, 2012

From Sunset to Sunrise

"But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus" (John 21:4).

The disciples had to get on with their lives after the awful death of their adored Friend. How they must have grieved and wondered and wept as they thought of those three years with their dear Jesus! But they had to make a living in spite of their anguish. Peter, restless and miserable, surely wondering what relationship he now had with His dead Friend, initiated this fishing fiasco: "I am going fishing." The others said, "We are going with you also."

It was after this night of uncommon failure for the disciples that Jesus appeared on the shore. He stood there, unknown to them, loving them, watching their heartbreaking failure in their duty, knowing that He is about to help them. He is on the shore of our life, too, aware of all that is happening to us, and knowing that He is about to give us victory, only we don't recognize Him.

Jesus stood on the quiet seaside as the disciples looked toward Him, probably thinking He was an ordinary person waiting for the boat to come in. Little did they know what He was about to do for them. Jesus is very near us, too, ready at any moment to help us, if we will but sense His Presence. He is waiting on our shore, waiting for our greeting, but perhaps we doubt His power can reach us on the coast of our life. Yet there He stands, waiting for us to recognize Him and tender Him our invitation. "Verily, verily," He says unto us, "it's that simple!"

An unknown saint tells us that "disappointment and defeat may prepare us for a new manifestation of the grace and power of Jesus Christ." We may weep in the night, fail in our night, but joy finally comes in the morning; as the sun rises, the Son rises and comes to our aid. Jesus is seasonable as well as reasonable: He comes when we are most in need. There is another thought here: Christ was indeed present through their night of struggle but only allowed Himself to be visible to them in the morning. In the dark night of our soul we can't see the Comforter, but He is there.

There's another thought we can glean from this precious portion: Jesus stood on the shore of His nature, where the sun was rising and the air was fresh and sensation was touched with wonder at the beauties of creation. This is where we meet our God, out where He has brushed it with His artistic brilliance. Nature has grand healing powers. Before our son died I enjoyed sunsets. After he died I watched sunrises. I became addicted to them, for they promised a new day with new possibilities. They became as important to me as the promises in God's Word.

O Father, Thank You for sunrises--and Son rises!

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