Debbie Salter Goodwin
Lessons from Uncomfortable Truth
Sometimes I see myself too well in scripture, and not where I would like. I would like to be the little boy who brought the basket of fish and bread to Jesus, or one of the servants at the wedding who filled the barrels with water without complaining or the Roman officer who knew Jesus could heal his servant with just a word.
Instead I find myself in the stories of the fearful, questioning, logical ones whose awkward tries to understand Jesus gave Him an opportunity to teach a lesson from an uncomfortable truth.
In the next few weeks, I want to take you on a journey through some familiar stories. You know them well. But do you know who you are in the story? It’s where we see ourselves as Jesus sees us so that what He says makes new sense and often shares uncomfortable truth.
You don’t have to find the same place in the story that I do. Your lessons could be waiting with someone else, in a bystander or the person who wasn’t there, in a question, or in a silence.
The process is simple; the result can be revealing.
Read the story in your favorite version.
Identify main and minor characters, even the ones who aren’t physically there.
Simply ask: Who am I in this story? What does it reveal about me?
Listen to what Jesus warns or explains. That’s where you find your lesson.
Ready to get started?
Story: Luke 5:1-11
Simon Peter and his fishing partners were finishing up an unsuccessful fishing night when Jesus asked to use their boat. Without fish there was nothing better to do, so they rowed him out where Jesus could use the water as part of his amplification to teach the shore-side crowd.
But the lesson wasn’t over when Jesus stopped talking to the crowd. Turning to the fishermen, he instructed them to “Put out into the deep . . . for a catch.” You remember how Peter countered with their all-night-no-fish experience. But they did it anyway and caught so many fish, it almost sunk the boat.
Who Am I?
I am the one who worked herself to the bone without the results I wanted or expected. I’m the one who bristles at the try again message. I’m a master at the try-again-and-harder strategy. But this isn’t just a try again message. It’s a try-different message. Jesus says, Use your skill and experience where I say, when I say and how I say. And though I carry the fatigue and failure too close, His words offer hope that my strategy never did.
Because you say so I’ll try . . . your way.
I wonder if trust is partly borrowed confidence from God. I wonder if somehow His authority relieves me of having to know what I don’t or can’t know. I wonder if in the act of obedience, I can find a new rhythm, a lightness and restored joy.
So this will not be another try harder day. I will cast my hopeful net on the other side of my try harder failures. Whatever I pull in my net where Jesus said to fish is exactly what I needed, boat-sinking catch or not.