Furious Love: Abandoned

They had worked and sweated all night, but it wasn’t enough. Peter, Andrew, and their fellow fishermen had come home with empty nets. A whole night’s work and nothing to show for it. Not even enough fish to fix for breakfast.

I’m familiar with the feeling. I work so hard. From the time my eyelids wrench open in the morning until my mind finally crashes to a halt at night, I’m running, running—trying to make everything happen and everybody happy. Trying to earn my way, trying to earn love. To make a living and a life. So many days come to an end and all I have to show for them are tears, a weary mind, and a worn out body.

Then, Jesus shows up and tells Peter and the boys to go out and try again. And this time, with Him there, something new happens—their net comes up so full it begins to break and capsize the boats.

This is grace.

They did nothing to earn the fish, but He gave it to them anyway.

This story comes from Luke 5, and recently, when I was glancing through this passage, I had one of those two-by-four-in-the-face moments when suddenly I realized that I’m reading my own story. I’m just like Peter. I work and work and work, with nothing to show for it. Then, Jesus shows up and my nets overflow.

Another way I’m like Peter is that when my nets overflow, my immediate response is to push Jesus away because there’s no way that I deserve the gift I’ve been given.

I am a grace rejecter.

I cringe as I write that. How many times in my years of taking and teaching Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion did I hear and say that grace is a free gift and that all we must do is receive it?

In “The Furious Longing of God,” Brennan Manning says, “Blessed is he who…abandons himself to my ever-transcending grace.” (Manning, 79)

In other words, when I stop holding God and others at arm’s length, crying that I’m unworthy and unlovable, and I simply let that grace wash over me, then I will find happiness and joy and every good thing.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Brennan Manning’s “The Furious Longing of God.” If you have written a response to this post, please visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen at Connecting to Impact, where you’ll find the widget to link up!

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Andy Hayes says:

    You should read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, if you haven’t yet. Similar theme. 😉

  2. I love the nights I can’t sleep and I see a link to your blog pop up! I have so many I enjoy reading it’s hard to keep up, but I seem to be drawn to yours (like a 2×4 to the face) at exactly the right moment. I too am a grace rejector. Now, how do we overcome this??

    Great thoughts and truth… Love you!

    Mary

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Andy, funny story… I’m reading one of Brene Brown’s books and it was because of something I read in there that I flipped my Bible open to Luke 5 and came to these conclusions. True story. :-)

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Mary, I can’t give you the whole answer yet because I don’t have the whole answer. I can only think that reading this book and repeating the key scripture: “I am My Beloved’s and He is mine,” is helping. I think it’s going to be a process. It’s taken me 35 years to get to this point. To realize that I’m living entrenched in shame and that it’s time to come out.

  5. praying that God cracks through and overwhelms you in ways you cannot defend
    and you will become a receiver of His grace just as you already walk as a deliverer of His grace

  6. Jason Stasyszen says:

    Yes! What a picture of grace this is. I was having a similar conversation today in the context of working, praying, pushing, and seeking God but then watching someone else get the miracle or breakthrough. It can be disheartening, but when you realize that maybe you were standing for their breakthrough all along, you can’t help but marvel at the grace of God there. It’s not that He doesn’t want to come through for us, but we can understand we’re all in this together and covenant people. Anyway, little off your point, but your post reminded me of it. :) thanks Sarah.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Karin, thank you! Your words are always filled with much grace and I appreciate you! You’re such an example to me!

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, I never mind you coming and taking tangents here! (They’re always good tangents!) Thank you! :-)

  9. Isn’t it interesting that these fishermen, professionals, humbled themselves and listened to Jesus. Yeah, they fought back a little-don’t we all- but when they actually submitted to him they caught a bounty! I wrestle with being a know-it-all, but I need to stop and listen to Jesus.

    As I read this, and looking at your other comments, another book recommendation came to mind- have you read anything by Sheila Walsh? I’ve been reading her most recent (I think) book, God Loves Broken People. It hits on everything you’ve described about yourself- she’s been down that road too. If you haven’t already, I think it’s worth checking out.

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