1 Corinthians 3:18-23
St. Peter would not have considered himself a wise man. He was a simple man, a fisherman, but he did think that he knew a thing or two about fishing. He at least would have claimed for himself this kind of practical wisdom. He knew what time of day to go fishing, and he knew where to fish. It says a lot that he was willing to listen to Jesus. He does not say, “Carpentry and preaching is your thing; leave the fishing to me.” He warns Jesus not to expect much, but obeys his command.
All night long, while they worked hard and caught nothing, perhaps they wondered were God was. Maybe they even prayed for fish and saw no answer to their prayers. They did not know that the night without fish was a preparation for the sign that Jesus would work. They did not know that their prayers, their desires, their needs would all be answered in the morning. During the hours of the night, if someone had come and said, “Now where is your God who promises to provide for you?” They would have had no answer.
One night, one year, 50 years: it does not matter. Just because God has not answered our prayers yet does not mean that he will not answer them. We do not know what he will do, in his own time. Are we so wise that we can tell God what he should be doing? We should let him know our needs and desires. He is our Father. We should tell him these things when we pray. But then, when we do not receive what we ask for within our timeframe, our attitude should not be that of the spoiled child who kicks and screams but of the trusting child who keeps asking while never doubting that they will receive.
The day will come when we receive what we ask for. Sometimes we will not wait long. Sometimes the whole night will pass, the opportunity will seem over, and then the answer comes. Everything belongs to us: the world, life, death, the present, the future, all belong to us, and we belong to God. I trust that God’s time is better than my time and his answer is better than what I asked for. Not better in a resigned-to-fate-I-suppose-that-is-better kind of way. Better in a I-would-not-exchange-it-for-what-I-thought-I-wanted-even-if-I-could kind of way.