outdoor family photo of Amy Julia's family 11 years ago

Reruns With Jesus

Eleven years ago, we moved to a new town and Peter started a new job. I called it my “year of wine and nachos,” as some of you may recall from my book, Small Talk. It was not the pinnacle of my life as a human, a wife, or a mother. 

We’re about to move again. Peter is about to start a new job. And I’m wondering whether we can approach it all differently this time. 

In Luke 5, the Apostle Simon-Peter hauls in hundreds of fish after an unsuccessful night on the water. Peter falls at Jesus’ feet and says, “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus instead invites Peter to leave his nets behind and follow him.

Years later, in John 21, Simon-Peter again hauls in hundreds of fish after an unsuccessful night on the water. Simon-Peter knows in an instant that the man on the shore who told him to throw his nets into the water is Jesus. It’s a repeat of that earlier moment. 

I’ve always read that second story as a sweet reminder to Simon-Peter of his initial moment of calling. But recently I noticed something else. In the first story, Simon-Peter pushes Jesus away. In the second story, Simon-Peter leaps into the water and runs toward Jesus. 

Just days earlier, Simon-Peter has denied and abandoned Jesus. If there was ever a time for falling on his knees, pushing Jesus away, and calling himself a sinner, it is now. 

But now Simon-Peter knows Jesus. He knows Jesus is the way of forgiving seventy times seven times. The way of blessing the brokenhearted. The way of radically abundant and generous love. The way of truth and grace. He knows that in the face of his own insecurities and failures, he wants to run with abandon toward the one who loves him with abundance.

Sometimes life gives us reruns. Eleven years later, I am trying again with a family move and a new start. My hope and prayer is that we repeat this move as people who have begun to reject the way of performance and achievement and who embrace the way of blessing. We return as people who do not reject the grace of God but who run toward love.

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