We were riding down the roads of Easley, South Carolina with grief in our hearts. There was a heart wrenching silence in the car so loud you could hear the desperate thoughts going through our minds. Thoughts of why. Why has this happened to us? Thoughts of when. When will it end, Lord? You see, Bayleigh’s family had experienced a tragedy so painful you could feel it whilst looking into their eyes. We felt as if everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. We were spent, having no more to give and couldn’t take anymore. I broke the silence with a simple question, “Bayleigh, what’s on your mind?” And she replied, “I want to escape but I know that I can’t.”
What do you do when your present reality doesn’t match your faithful expectations? What do you do when all you want is to escape but you can’t? This past month I have been face with these types of questions. Even more, I have been faced with a silent absence of answers. Without going into detail, Bayleigh’s family experienced two unexpected deaths of a husband and a wife; a mother and a father; a Papa and a Mimi. The experience of laying to rest the people we care for the most has blindsided a family full of joy, peace, and righteousness.
This past Thanksgiving, I planned to go home to my family and surprise them. I did so and I loved every moment of it. Then out of nowhere, my mother whom I love, started to shut me out again. We haven’t always had the best relationship. It hurts to know that she has been my mom since the day I was born, yet I do not know her favorite color, song, or even food. I want to escape this realty.
In the midst of all the pain and turmoil the Lord spoke to my broken and confused heart. Take a walk with me as I share with you the healing words of Jesus weighing on my heart this week.
I am reminded of last year amid personal turmoil. I was deeply struggling with same sex attraction. I would wake up with freedom on my mind, yet go to bed with porn in my search history. I would look in the mirror and be unsatisfied with the emptiness that I saw. I wanted to escape but I felt like I couldn’t.
As he was walking by the shore of Lake Galilee, Jesus noticed two fishermen who were brothers. One was named Keefa (later called Peter, the rock), and the other was Andrew, his brother. Watching as they were casting their nets into the water, Jesus called out to them and said, “Come and follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.
Its hard for me to believe that Jesus would just pick any random group of guys to follow Him. For He once stated that He only does and says what He sees and hears the Father do. In other words, there was a reason Jesus chose Peter and Andrew to lay down their nets and follow Him forever. What if that reason was their need for an escape from their present reality? I can just imagine Peter and Andrew waking every morning and getting ready for work. As they prepare for the day, they read the Word of God but feel stuck; paralyzed by the fact that their present reality does not match that of the men who God walked with in scripture. Looking into the mirror and feeling unsatisfied with the way their lives are, these fishermen wanted to be a part of God’s global vocation of Israel. I can see them praying in desperation, “Lord, fix me! Do whatever you have to do to get me out of this endless cycle!” Just as narrated in Matthew 4:18-20, God answered their prayers in a way the never expected. Jesus was and still is the answer to the prayer of desperation. I can see Jesus working in and through the story of Peter and Andrew for He cared so much about the freedom and overall purpose of these fishermen. Know it to be true, He cares as much about your freedom and overall purpose. To prove the truth, I want to enlighten you of what Jesus was really doing in the narrative of Peter and Andrew.
In your present reality, JESUS IS NEAR.
“As he was walking by the shore of Lake Galilee,…”
I question why he was on the shore in the first place? Surely the Son of God wouldn’t be aimlessly strolling down the beach, passing time. So, what in the world was Jesus doing? In Peter’s and Andrew’s present reality, he was near. Jesus was there on one of the many days that these brothers were waiting for hope to escape. In your present reality, JESUS IS NEAR. I know you feel alone. I know you are questioning where God dropped you off. Don’t lose hope for Jesus is in the background waiting. Waiting for the grace to rescue, for a gift without the right time is not valuable.
In your present reality, JESUS SEES.
“Jesus noticed two fishermen”
Just like I mentioned, Jesus only does and says what He sees and hears the Father do. So, when Jesus noticed two fishermen it wasn’t just Jesus noticing two fishermen. This was the Father and all of heaven noticing two men longing for freedom and transformation. This was the Father creating a Kairos moment that would change the course of their history and ultimately the history of the world. The Father is a father who sees your mess and isn’t afraid of encountering it.
In your present reality, JESUS KNOWS.
“Watching as they were casting their nets into the water,”
With every toss of the net Jesus knew. He knew they felt stuck. He knew they wanted to escape their struggle, their cycle. Not only did He know, He wasn’t afraid or disappointed by what He knew. The Lord knows where you are and He is not worried. He is more overjoyed than you would think. You see struggle, He sees future beauty. You see hopelessness, He sees opportunity.
In your present reality, JESUS FREES YOU TO TRANSFORM YOU.
“Come and follow me and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.”
It is interesting to me that Jesus calls them to follow him before transformation began. It is against the Gospel to believe you must fix yourself before you can follow the lover of your soul. Jesus told Peter and Andrew to follow and He will transform them. Little did they know that the key to their freedom, the key to their escape is following Jesus. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Jesus said I am the way the TRUTH and the life. In other words, when you come to know, intimately know Jesus, transformation takes place in your life. Answering the call is what frees you, following is what transforms you.
Hard to believe?
“immediately they dropped their nets and left everything behind to follow..”
Why was it so easy for these fishermen to leave everything they knew behind? Because they knew the escape from their present reality had walked down the shore and beckoned, “Come!”
What do you do when you feel like escaping your present reality?
TAKE A WALK, FOR IN YOUR WALK LIES TRANSFORMATION!