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When uncertainty decides to pay me a return visit, I often become this mindless butler. Now life may be about as predictable as the stock market, but doubt doesn’t have to give the butler his paycheck.

I was wrestling for the thousandth time about some critical decisions that I had made based on my belief that I had heard from God. But, alas, things haven’t always turned out the way I thought they would and it has often left me sitting under clouds (and sometimes downpours) of second-guessism.

When hope is the only thing you are really holding on to, it’s best if hope is still there! While it may be, I began to wonder recently if I had lost my grip. It’s not an innocuous condition. It borders on sin if it isn’t one.

I had only one option. I repented. It was as if a child was promised a trip to the beach, but began rebuffing the father even though there was still snow on the ground. Impatience and hope can make for a violent concoction. It’s either one or the other.

While I don’t think God is anemic in His manner of dealing with our doubt, I have also found him fairly tender and the most touching story along these lines comes from John 21 (stay with me, it’s worth it):

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Fish and bread? Does this sound familiar? I cried when I re-read this passage. The disciples had put their hope back into their safety net – in this case, one that catches fish. So Jesus, being as patient with them as He is with me, decides to revisit two representations of His power and His ability to sustain: a couple of food groups by no coincidence.

After I had repented of losing hope the other day, Jesus did the exact same thing with me. He revisited the most temporal reminder I have of His faithfulness toward me: a plant. That’s right. A plant. It was given to me by Pastors Steve and Karen Lalor upon the opening of my hearing aid practice in 1997 along with prayers of blessing. It was a tiny potted plant. But it grew….and grew….and grew. Every time a new shoot would appear, jokes would surface about opening up another office somewhere and that became near the truth. Like the plant, our practice sprawled. Eventually, we called in a plant doctor because the plant had reached the ceiling. She was able to cut it, separate it and replant it in the same pot and now there are two plants.

Upon my contrition the other day, I immediately Imagenoticed a shoot.

Jesus was revisiting. I sent an ever-hopeful butler to let Him in.

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