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A Prayer for Disappointment
By Glynnis Whitwer
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered.” John 21:4-5 (NIV)
Scripture doesn’t record the disciples’ thoughts, but I can imagine they were a bit annoyed at this piece of advice. After all, they were professional fishermen, doing everything they knew to do. The fish obviously weren’t there!
The disciples were about to learn an important lesson about success and failure. They obeyed Jesus’ directive, shifted the nets to the other side of the boat, and Scripture records: “When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” (John 21:6b, NIV)
At that moment they recognized the Lord, and the disciples headed to shore, towing the fish behind. The disciples didn’t just have success, they had great success.
Jesus needed the disciples to see the difference between self-directed effort and Jesus-directed effort. And in order to show them, He let them fail on their own first.
Oh, how I need to learn this lesson myself. I wonder if Jesus has watched me try on my own and held back success while I do. Is He just waiting for me to listen for His voice? To watch for His plan?
Yes, we can do many things on our own, but that doesn’t mean we should. Why would we choose to ignore the greatest source of wisdom and power ever known, in exchange for our paltry efforts in comparison?
When we operate in our power, we see what we can do. When we operate under Jesus’ direction and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we see what God can do.
As I look back on my life, the times I’ve seen God work in the greatest ways are when I admit my natural strength isn’t enough. That’s when His supernatural strength is evident. Viewed from this perspective, it reminds me sometimes failure is an opportunity to see God work miracles.
God is always up to something for my good. And that’s a much better way to look at disappointment.
Lord, thank You for working in my life, even in ways that look like failure. Help me keep my eyes on You and not on my situation. Help me trust You more, especially when I face what looks like a disappointment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Encouragement for Today devotional, “A Better Way to Look at Disappointment,” written by Glynnis Whitwer. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.