Peace in a World in Crisis
TURN IT AROUND
The words in my book, Turn It Around, invite you to shift your perceptions in the rapidly changing world in which we live; a world that continually demands more from us in every area of our lives. At times it seems as though the treadmill of life is out of our control and we are the unwilling participants on a fitness device that is going faster than we can walk or run.
We try to create a routine and gain some semblance of order in our lives. The people in our family and friendship circles are the ones we try to meet with, to maintain some form of meaningful reciprocal relationship. The stresses of the workplace increase as heads of organizations call for more on the bottom line as they work harder to appease shareholders and compete in a world that is becoming more challenging every day.
It feels like our best attempts at finding balance, keeping in rhythm, staying fit and healthy, protecting and nurturing our relationships and growing in our relationship with God are in vain in the dizzying cycle of life. But we can turn it around.
Whenever I find myself in a senseless spin, trying to regain focus and stability in a demanding schedule or working through jangled emotions, as I have had to recently navigate my way through the shock and irreversible loss of my life partner, Ernest, and you know that in these seasons, despite your best planning, there is just too much that requires attention, healing, and needing hope, I encourage myself to go back to the truth found in the book of John, chapter 21.
YOU MAY HAVE TO DO THE SAME THING, BUT DO IT DIFFERENTLY
After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.” The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him. Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?” They answered, “No.” He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.” They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!” When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it. Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip. Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master. Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.
– John 21:1–14, Message Bible
Let us remember that these men had already witnessed the extraordinary and magnificent miracle of Jesus being raised from the dead. As the disciples returned to their everyday jobs, they must have pondered over this wonder a million times in their minds. The wonder of the Son of God being crucified, being raised from the dead and then appearing to them personally must have been complex to comprehend. It was, however, their truth, their turnaround point. Being professional fishermen, they very soon had to put aside this impressive and significant experience and get back to catching fish to earn money to eat and provide.
There are potent life lessons in this example of how lovingly and skillfully Jesus mentored His disciples through the potential loss of their income since they would have no fish to sell, there was a sense of barrenness, scarcity, and fear.
Doesn’t that sound just like us today? We believe we are living in a pandemic of hopelessness, yet we have memorable and miraculous events taking place in our lives on a daily basis, but the emotions of fear, panic and trying to make things work, relegate potent truths to the bottom drawer of our minds, and back to our toil and self-efforts we go.
The disciples pushed out their boat into the deep and probably cast their nets many times that night, yet they caught nothing. Imagine their disappointment— sweating, working and toiling through the night with nothing to show for all their effort. Worse still, there were no fish to sell. Their livelihood for that day was under pressure; there would be no return for a whole lot of investment of their time and energy.
I am sure you have felt like that at some stage in your life, or at your place of work. You give your best and go the extra mile, not counting the cost. Your family life takes strain. Your health shows the stress. You may have even done work for free. You feel unappreciated and have become resentful, even maliciously compliant—doing it not because you want to but because you have to; you do it halfheartedly. It is hard work, but it doesn’t bring with it a reward.
THE MASTER APPEARS AND EVERYTHING CHANGES
But then the MASTER appears. To see Him, you have to stop your toil. The disciples didn’t recognize Him at first, because they were obsessed by what they didn’t catch! Take a moment to look up from what is consuming your attention. Remember, what has your full attention has all of you! We need to shift our focus and set our eyes on the solution, instead of getting stuck and fixated on the problem. In order to hear Him you have to silence the noise in your head and the voices around you. And for sure, we can all vouch for the fact that the media screams doom and gloom which creates a greater pandemic of fear and hopelessness.
Perhaps just like the disciples whose nets came up empty that night.I have no doubt that the disciples were all talking at once, bemoaning the fact that their nets failed to produce. They needed ears to hear the truth—Jesus’ truth, not their faithless words.
The way Jesus greeted them is a fascinating study. He who knows all things would have known they didn’t have a night catch, yet He asked them if they had caught anything for breakfast. He needed to ask the question so that He could receive their answer. You see, it is their response that created the space for the miracle. It is mostly the need in our lives that invites the solution and which makes way for the miracle. This then opens up new opportunities we may never even have thought of
PARTICIPATE IN THE MIRACLE
If the disciples had caught fish that night, they would never have witnessed the imminent miracle! Sometimes what we see as a setback sets the stage for a great miracle. Beware that complacency doesn’t short circuit your faith—don’t let the mindset of just enough cast your miracle away from you. Just enough can become the enemy of abundance. Routine and disappointment can potentially cut off your supply line. Be reminded that Out of difficulties grow miracles. We have to realise that the provision is always there. We need to stay close to the Lord to learn to access what is already in reserve for you. And just one of the ways we can access His gifts is by speaking words of life, wisdom and what you do want, not want you don’t want. Your words create your world. Words are a creative force and will bring about what you say. Choose to speak words of life in every way.
How often have you been in a situation in your life where the needs have been pressing, even depressing? I believe this world in crisis is experiencing this right now in unprecedented proportions. Multitudes are feeling hopeless, even lifeless. At times it feels like all reason for hope is gone. You switch between doubt and belief, hope and despair, panic and praise. But if you will stick with faith, hope and love, the solution will come, the answer will manifest and the miracle will be yours.
THE QUESTIONS YOU ASK CAN GIVE YOU REDIRECTION
The questions you ask can give you redirection. The vision spurs on the decision and the clues give you the cue to do some- thing different. It was the fact that the disciples came face to face with their reality of “we caught nothing” which paved the way for something new. Jesus has the most re-markable way of taking nothing and making something special out of it. That is just how He created the world and everything in it. How we perceive this truth determines how we receive the miracle, or not. The choice is ours.
We can doubt and do without, or believe and receive. Doubt doesn’t change the possibility. It just removes the possibility from you.
Jesus instructed them to“Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.” The words of Jesus are life-changing. He was talking to the same people, using their same nets, fishing off the same boat in the very same sea. But the results were different. Startling. Miraculous.
Our frustrations in life stem from doing the same old things the same old way every day. It’s time to hear and obey His voice and turn it around. The disciples could have heard the suggestion and continued to doubt. Instead, they believed and received. A simple act of obedience can yield an enormous return when we obey His instruction and not view it as a mere suggestion.
God does speak to us in many different ways. Sometimes it is through some- one else’s suggestion or offer, but we are too proud to take it. Do we have ears to hear and are we able to put our pride aside to receive from someone else? At other times it is a simple thought that could be passed off as your own, but it resonates so deeply within you that you are compelled to listen and carefully obey. He can even speak through a little child, an advertisement or through a casual conversation. Yet at other times it is the smallest clue; so fleeting it could seem insignificant, but you know if you obey it, the results could be revolutionary.
Just one action of casting the net on the right side of the boat; it wasn’t even a spectacular action. The results were.
My invitation to you today, is to do just one thing differently in your daily routine. Something that has meaning, something that you know can produce a different result if you just had the courage to get up and change it, speak it, release it and be passionate about it. The world needs what you have to offer.
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!
Romans 15:13 – TPT
May you ask yourself everyday, “If I am alive for such a time as this, what can I do to bring a greater contribution to my world?