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  • Writer's pictureGreg Dover

Christine's Corner: Too Much of a Good Thing

Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.” (Luke 5:5-6, NRSV).

Some things in life most everyone agrees are stressful and hard: death, natural disaster, chronic pain, war. Others, we almost universally think of as joyful and good: a new baby, marriage, a promotion.

The fishermen’s miraculous catch of fish tells a more nuanced story. After fishing all night with no luck, Simon, James, and John think they’re going home empty handed—until Jesus arrives and leads them to an unexpected catch. After leading them to deeper waters, they bring in a tremendous haul. So many fish, the text says, that their nets threaten to break.

These breaking nets are a good reminder. The so-called “good” things in life carry their own challenges, and it’s normal to find ourselves stressed with the weight of them. A new baby brings joy…and midnight feedings. Marriage brings hope…and challenge. A promotion brings new privileges… and new responsibilities.

The next time you feel stressed by an event you think you’re supposed to be happy about, remember those breaking nets. Good gifts and strain are not mutually exclusive. Life is complicated. And remember: Jesus was with the disciples even as their nets were breaking, walking alongside them, helping them adjust to the blessing they could not have imagined only a few hours before.


God, thank you for being with me in the joys and challenges of my life. When my nets feel stretched to the breaking point, help me turn my focus to you, remembering that you are near to guide my path.

(written by Traci Smith and reprinted with permission)

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