Yesterday we left the biblical Peter on an all-night fishing trip aching to be with Jesus, not sure it would ever happen again. After a miserable night of fishing failure (and probably confusion over what he would do with his future), all of a sudden his greatest longing materialized on the beach – a wonderfully familiar voice calling across the water to him!
Could it be? Did he dare hope? When their fishing net miraculously filled with fish, he knew, and from the core of his heart the ache exploded into fervent glee. It was so overpowering he threw himself into the sea, swimming wildly toward shore and his beloved Friend. Peter no longer cared about the monster-sized catch of fish, his boat, the other men, or anything other than the Person on the beach.
This is one of those scriptural moments when I envision Jesus throwing his head back and laughing as he watched Peter thrash through the water toward him. Did they embrace when he got there, wet man and dry man?
Jesus had been almost playful the way he’d surprised the men with that net of fish. And it wasn’t lost on them that he worked a second wonder when the strained net didn’t rip.
The whole scene must have been punctuated with shouts of happiness as the men encircled Jesus and reveled in the rich satisfaction of being with him again. Proverbs 13:19 says, “The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,” a truth written all over these disciples on that day.
As I studied this passage, God asked me a question: “Margaret, do you long to see Jesus as much as Peter did?”
“Sure!” my heart answered. “Of course!”
But then came his second question: “As much as you long to see Nate?”
“Well,” I thought, avoiding the answer, “when my heart aches to see Nate again, the longing will never be satisfied on earth as it was for those disciples. So of course I’m excited about seeing him in heaven.”
On and on my mental reasoning went. “I miss the daily companionship of my husband, the one I knew so well. I miss our conversations and his counsel. I miss him coming home at night, and I miss our I-love-you’s. The thought of one day having him back in all those ways sometimes makes me ache to see him.”
The more I thought about it, though, the more I knew something was amiss in my heartache-headquarters. That’s when God asked his last question: “Do you think you could get to know Jesus even better than you knew Nate?”
It was important to think about that, and in my deepest heart, even deeper-down than my sometimes-ache for Nate, I knew that if I made an effort to get to know Jesus better than ever before, the end-result would be a Peter-esque longing for him that would be unmatched by any other… even my longing for Nate.
“Grow in the…. knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)