Because I said so.
When I type the words above, the first thing I think of is that my teachers always told me to never start a sentence with because. Then I actually start to think about the words themselves and the times I’ve heard them either spoken to me or when I’ve felt entitled to speak them to my students, and my blood starts boiling a bit.
I’d say that as a child, those are 4 of the most aggravating words to hear…but as an adult, the “Why??” that comes before them can be just as infuriating. I’m sure we’ve all been on the receiving or giving end of these words at one point or another in our lives.
I know I’m guilty of using those words myself in moments of utter frustration when I feel that my students are asking silly questions as to why they have to doing something that we’ve either done ALL year or when in my mind the thing I’ve asked them to do is obviously for their own good or protection!
While I know this isn’t a great response to give kids, I read Luke 5:1-11 and I realized that Jesus had these “Because I said so” moments too…and he still does with us when we are constantly questioning and asking why when He clearly gives us guidance or direction.
To be clear, Jesus wasn’t sassy or frustrated with the person with whom He was speaking, but rather, He wanted to take the burden off of the person, and have them trust Him because ultimately, He was looking out for their best interest. While it may not come across that way, that IS the same desire I have for my students too. I want them to trust me, to know I have their best interest at heart, and to know that I am working to protect them.
Here is the passage of scripture…There is a lot we can learn from it about trusting God when He tells us to do things and we feel like asking “Why?” and cross our fingers that the answer won’t be those 4 words-that-shall-not-be-mentioned again. We want answers, but we don’t always get an explanation. Sometimes we just have to TRUST and know that God has our protection and future in His hands, and He wants us to be obedient to ALL that He asks us to do. He does not want us to be obedient only to the things that are easy or only to the things that make the most sense to us.
Luke 5: 1-11:
The first thing I see happen in the story is that Jesus, as He was teaching a crowd, noticed two men who were washing their nets after fishing. I imagine He saw the frustration on their faces and the discouragement of catching no fish that day and I think it’s so powerful that He sees them and goes to talk to them even though (or maybe even because) He had a captivated audience already that He was in the middle of teaching. He didn’t need more people to teach, but He saw two men in need, and He went to them. I imagine Jesus even looking over, seeing them washing their nets and thinking, “Why are they giving up??” That brings me hope because these last few weeks have been hard at school, but I find solace knowing that God sees me. He sees me when I am discouraged and disheartened and He comes to comfort and help me, just as He did for these men. He doesn’t want me to give up just because I’ve deemed the last few weeks as unsuccessful.
But He doesn’t stop there. After Jesus approached them, He got into their boat and the first thing He did was just sit there and be with them as He continued to teach. He didn’t immediately ask Simon to throw his net out, He first asked him to just leave the shore. I think that’s a beautiful picture of our lives again and how Jesus meets us where we are. He doesn’t drag us out and demand things of us, He gently and lovingly takes us by the hand and walks with us step by step. He guides us the whole way and knows exactly what we need at each step.
After leaving the shore, He tells Simon to let down the nets again. Now we know that Simon had just cleaned his nets, which wouldn’t have been an easy job and we also know that he just had an unsuccessful night of fishing, so it makes sense when he reminds Jesus that they’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing… implying that it literally makes no sense for him to throw out his net! EVEN with that being true, immediately after he says that, He says, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” THAT is Jesus’ “Because I said so” moment…What great faith Simon had! As Simon lets the nets down, the story says that “This time their nets were so full of fish that the nets began to tear.” There were so many fish in his net that he had to call for help and BOTH boats end up being filled with fish and are so full in fact, that they’re almost sinking!
So, the question I’ve asked myself, and the question I ask you today is this: Where do you see yourself in this story?
Do you keep pulling up an empty net? Are you sitting on the shore feeling discouraged and like giving up? Are you weary and frustrated as you feel like you are facing constant failures? Know that God sees you. Just as He saw Simon, He sees you too and He cares about you.
Are you about to leave the shore? Know that God is with you and that small steps matter. God is with you every step of the way and all of your small steps will add up.
Are you taking your boat into deeper waters? Are you ready to throw your net even when it doesn’t make sense? Know that God is proud of your courage and your trust in Him. He is a protector. He will guide you every step of the way…have faith and be obedient!
Are you coming back from the deep waters with a net full of fish? Know that God is proud of your obedience. Continue to dare to be obedient and when times of trial do come, stay the course and trust God.
No matter where you see yourself in the story, one thing is clear to me. We can’t let our “But why??” keep us from trusting God. Let’s be willing and filled with courage to say, “If you say so, I will…” just like Simon did! Persevere. Trust God and be faithful. Do what He tells you to do even if it doesn’t make sense to you in the moment.
For me, I am on the shore sitting there staring at my dirty net thinking, I don’t even feel like cleaning this. I see myself with slouched shoulders, sand everywhere, not even caring that I am dirty. The one thing I know is that I am tired and that I am discouraged. This story serves as a reminder to me today that I cannot expect every “net” that I cast out to be a success, but that also doesn’t mean that I should give up. I am choosing today to remember that Jesus is with me on the shore. He sees me and just like He did with Simon, He comes over to me, He walks me over to my boat, we get into the water, and I will come back up with fish. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow…but I will keep pressing on, because Jesus told me to…
This song has brought me encouragement too. ..I relate to it all, especially the wanting to lock the door and hide away. The lyrics inspire me to keep going on bad days because as the song says, “A single battle lost, but not the war.”
Tomorrow is another day!