In the past six years we’ve had our business, there were some days when I’d see my mom come home and look depressed because we hadn’t gotten a sale in weeks. The life of an entrepreneur can be difficult when there are no sales or fish biting for weeks on end. It’s a pretty nerve-wracking feeling because if you don’t get sales, you don’t eat right?
But in our very first year of opening, a distinct moment happened in my life that taught me something interesting about the way God wants me to trust in Him. When I was at the store one day, my mom turned to me and asked me to pray for the Lord to help us get more sales.
Although she is not a Christian, my mom is still a spiritual person. I went to pray and then, just as I was mid-prayer, I heard my phone buzz with a text. After I finished praying, I looked at my phone and saw a text from my friend Jenna. She wrote that God had put me on her heart at that moment. Her words were pretty much, “God wanted me to tell you not to worry about things like your mom’s business or money. He’ll be there for you and He wants you to trust in Him. If you seek His kingdom first, everything else will be given to you.”
Then she shared a passage from Habbakuk:
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The timing was simply uncanny. It gave me a renewed sense of hope in Christ and made me think, “Wow. God is really there.”
I heard that God tends to prepare His people for trials they will face in the future through the experiences they face today. If so, learning to trust in God despite the fear of the unknown has been a frequent lesson in my life.
There was a time when I would help my family with online marketing. In the slower seasons, where there would be no sales for days on end despite all my strategies and hard work, I remember feeling so despondent. Each day that went by without a sale felt like a failure.
I asked God for His guidance and was directed to the passage where Jesus tells His disciples to catch fish. The passage I’m referring to comes after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. His disciples were trying to catch fish but to no avail. As they sat there in that empty boat, Jesus came by and told them to toss their net in the water.
They did so skeptically but then, the Bible says that the net they pulled back was filled with fish wriggling and alive. After that, they realized that it was Jesus who had told them to cast their nets. They ran to Him and broke bread with Him and realized more clearly than ever that He is the living Christ.
21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “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.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 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.
7 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. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
In the same way, I’ve learned more and more that fish comes from God. I can try as hard as I can to make a better life for myself and for my family. To make things happen. God wants me to put my trust primarily in Him and not in my hard work. It’s like when a child depends on her father to give her the food and the clothing she needs. She doesn’t have to ask for it or work for it. He gives it to her out of love and because He knows she needs it. In the same way, God showed me that He wanted me to trust in Him first and foremost and know that fruit and fish come from Him.
There’s a wall decal I saw that says Dreams + Hard Work = Success. As inspiring as this quote is and as important as hard work is, it’s not always the case that hard work equals to success. Sometimes, you can work your fingers to the bone for your dreams and still not see it materialize.
I’ve learned to put my trust in God. To yes, work hard and to have dreams but to place my hope in Him. And there will be people who call me a fool for doing so but I choose every day to surrender and to hope in Him continually and continually.