I love John chapter 21. The scene opens in the early morning light. The crucifixion and resurrection have taken place, and the disciples have been out fishing all night without any catch to show for their efforts. Jesus, standing on the bank, calls out to them and tells them to cast their nets over the side of the boat.
Now, if this had been me, I probably would have grumbled about having to try again after a fruitless fishing expedition. I might have stubbornly refused to do it at all. Thankfully, the disciples obeyed, even though they hadn't even realized that it was Jesus Who was asking them to do it (verse 4).
Their incredible yield from obeying the Lord resulted in 153 fish (verse 11).
That's the power of God at work.
In verse 12, we learn that they didn't ask Jesus Who He was, because they knew it was the Lord. They didn't recognize Him at first - whether due to the poor light or because they were too far out on the water or because their hearts were hardened, I'm not sure - but they knew exactly Who He was after He performed that miracle.
Sometimes, things occur in life that are so inexplicable in human or scientific terms that we know instantly that only God could have performed them. There is no doubt that He is the One orchestrating these events, and they leave us in greater awe of His majesty than ever before.
For me, the days and weeks following Jon's surgery come to mind. I thought I knew exactly how the Lord would choose to meet our needs while Jon took time off of work to recuperate. He had accrued a week's worth of paid vacation (so we thought), and the previous month had had an extra pay day. While the extra pay check from the earlier month was an enormous blessing, the paid vacation fell through.
Instead, the Lord graciously met our needs above and beyond what we could have imagined. My mom came to stay with us while Jon was in the hospital, and she brought with her ingredients for over a week's worth of meals. Other family and friends gave us gift cards (most at great personal sacrifice), brought meals, provided childcare, and helped out financially. I was amazed and humbled at the ways the Lord used so many people to bless and comfort us!
I also know there are times when it should be obvious that the Lord is behind something, but so often I fail to recognize His hand. Sometimes I'll later realize that He's been at work, but a lot of the time, I'm completely oblivious and never thank Him for His provision. For times like those, I can only ask forgiveness and pray that I'll become more sensitive to seeing the obvious.
Your turn: Has there been a time in your life when you've clearly seen the Lord at work? I'd love to hear your story. Share in the comments!