by Tad Lindley
When the boat went down we pulled herring over the bow and then hung on while the next wave lifted us skyward and our forearms cried out in agony. Those were the glory days of the Cape Avinof fishery. Pinipaar was buried alive on the front deck of the F/V Fandora under a mass of net and fish. We had to dig him out to shake the net.
Years later as we approached the North line at Egegik on the F/V Kusko Gayle, we spotted a school of jumpers that had made it through. We set on them and within five minutes we had many thousands of pounds of reds hanging in the gear. Those are the memories that warm us in the winter and fill the steambath porch with smiles and laughter.
We rarely think about the drifts that turned out to be water hauls although most fishermen have had their share of those. That was the case for the crew that made the greatest drift ever. They had fished all night and come up empty.
As the sun came up, they beached their boat and began to wash their nets. A man approached them. A very large crowd of people followed him. The man said something like, “Please let me use your boat to talk to this crowd.” And so Simon (the captain of the boat) rowed the boat out a little ways from shore so that this man, Jesus, could talk to the crowd (you know how you can hear people talking out in a boat when you are on the shore). (Luke 5:1-3)
Disciples get deck-loaded
Now when he has left speaking, he said unto Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let your nets down for a draught [a catch].”
And Simon answering said unto him, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
And when they had done this, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship that they should come and help them. And they filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. (Luke 5:4-7)
The men had clearly exhaustively strained the water with their gear all night long and not caught a single fish. So when Jesus suggested they go fishing again, it would have been logical for them to refuse. Simon Peter could have said, “No point in doing what you say, I’ve tried all night and got nothing.” Instead he said, “We didn’t catch anything all night, nevertheless at thy word…”
Notice that word “nevertheless”. The way Peter uses it, he is saying, “even though we don’t think anything is going to come out of it, we will try it anyway, because you are the one suggesting it.” Remember that the Bible says, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). They had been hoping to fill their tubs with fish, and they hadn’t. They had plenty of evidence that there were no fish in that part of the Sea of Galilee. But they had faith in Jesus, and so in spite of the fact that it seemed pointless to make another drift, because Jesus told them to, they did.
Would you have missed the miracle?
Let me ask you these questions: if you had been the captain of the boat, would you have put the net back into the boat and made another drift? Or would you have said, “Jesus, I just don’t feel lead to make another drift,” or “That will never work, I’ve already tried it my way and I didn’t catch, what makes you think it will be any different your way?” Would you have missed the miracle?
It is unlikely that the Lord will walk out of the trees at fish camp and tell you to make one more drift. However, he does have some other suggestions for you. These suggestions are found in the Bible. If our heart is right with God, as we read his word, our response is, “nevertheless, at thy word.” If you have never tried the suggestions of God as recorded in the Holy Bible, now is the time. Test him and see if he will not pour out a blessing that you cannot contain (Malachi 3:10).
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, AK.