Come With Me
My June book recommendation is from another favorite author of mine, Suzanne Eller. I have read 3-4 of her books but today, I want to recommend her new book that just came out called “Come With Me: Discovering the beauty of following where He leads.”
In her book, she focuses each chapter on one of the 12 disciples and their story of how they followed Jesus. Now, I have attended church since I was a young girl so I thought I knew the Gospel messages pretty well. However, Suzanne added some amazing commentary and facts about these first followers of Jesus that I truly did not know before. She also offers some great insight into how we can apply this to our lives. I truly hope you will get this book because it is phenomenal and will truly grow your faith!
I so wish I could share with you all of the nuggets that I learned from each disciple but I am going to focus on just one: Simon Peter. This chapter truly captivated me.
She begins by sharing how Peter, James and John had fished all night long and had not caught any fish. They had just finished cleaning their nets and Peter finds Jesus sitting in his boat. Jesus asks Peter to push him out to deeper waters and let his nets down. Now, Peter is tired and weary and ready to go home. The last thing he wants to do is go back out and try to fish again. Peter is at a crossroads. He could have said No, I don’t want to go deeper; I am comfortable where I am. However, if Peter had made that choice, he would have missed out on the miracle! Now, we all know the miracle is about to happen but Peter had no idea.
I love Peter’s response to Jesus; he is authentic about how he is really feeling but ultimately obeys Jesus’ request. He says, “We worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” Don’t miss this: “But if you say so!” Wow- what an amazing response! Then as we all know from the story, the miracle takes place. The nets become so full of fish that they almost sink the boat and Peter needs to shout for help for another boat to come.
I love all the practical wisdom Suzanne shares from this story. She says, “How many times do I choose to sit in the shallow end when Jesus longs to take me deeper.” She continues to say, “Sometimes I start to follow, and then I turn around and climb back into the comfortable places where I’m not challenged and I’ll never change. It’s the last place I really want to be, but it takes too much faith to do anything different.” Wow- this really got me thinking! Going deeper is hard, it requires having faith before I know all the details or how it is going to all work out. This is not easy, ladies. However, Suzanne says in her book, “When I refuse to go deeper, my faith lingers in the shallow.” The other option is to not grow and just stay stagnant. I don’t want to stay shallow in my faith or get too comfortable, I want to grow deep! As I thought about this more, I wondered how many miracles did I miss seeing because I did not reply like Peter, “But if you say so”. I don’t want to miss out on anything God has planned for me!
Suzanne ends the chapter by saying, “The miracle was never about the fish. Pushing out deeper was never about the fish. It was about the miracle of walking with Jesus.” Simon Peter became a changed man after that day! It launched him forward as an amazing disciple. He still struggled many more times and he was not perfect by any means. But he was a man of faith who trusted God and was willing to say yes even when he was not sure of the outcome. I pray we can too!
Dear God, I love Peter’s example to us. Thank you for his amazing response, “But if you say so”. Help us respond that way to you too! Please help us to stretch our faith and go deeper. Help us not be okay with staying comfortable but instead challenge us to grow. Give us your strength to preserve and stay the course! In Jesus name, Amen.
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