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Flip Your Net

By Marlene Houk

Burke CountyMarlene Houk Burke County

John 21:6, “And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

On a hot summer day each year, young children wriggle eagerly as they wind their reels, staring at the river. Annually, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their sponsors host the for children aged 3-11 years old. Imagine dozens of young ones standing close to their parents as both sets of eyes try to pierce the surface of the Onconalufee.

A friend of mine joins the event yearly with his own two young boys. Their experience parallels a fishing story found in the Bible in John 21:1-14. Jesus had resurrected and appeared on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where His disciples had returned to fish. Jesus called them, children, (John 21:5) and this tiny detail reminded me of our relationship with Him today as sons and daughters. Jesus’ followers could not see the fish they so desperately wanted until He pointed them in the right direction. And we today often struggle to see God’s blessings in our defeat. During a recent sermon, three small words about this Bible story reeled in my attention: “flip your net.”

We could trawl for a stunning catch of spiritual lessons in the story when we “flip our net.” But, the prize spiritual fish jumping out of the water for me was: Jesus’s school of fish waits beneath the surface of life to bless us.

Jesus’ disciples perceived only the activity on the surface of the Sea of Galilee. They could not see with their physical eyes all the action beneath the face of the water. Like the disciples, I often only see and process actual events from one side of life—the surface. When I flip my net (my focus) to the other side of life—God’s viewpoint, everything changes. Discerning disappointments and despair through God’s eyes empowers me to see beneath the earthly events to the bigger picture of eternity. Just under life’s restless top, the stunning beauty of Jesus’ presence and His plan enfold me in peace and joy.

I swim in the abundant ocean of His blessings, grateful for the net of His grace that catches what Jesus provides for me. Seeing beneath the surface requires us to “flip our net,” i.e. our thinking, from our earthly view of life to an eternal view of life. Jesus tells us through the fishermen in John chapter twenty-one to cast our net for an unbelievable haul of blessings when we follow the disciples’ actions:

  1. Work our way toward the shore of life, away from the trials and troubles, where Jesus speaks to us. Take a break and rest. Relax in a quiet time with God on a beautiful spring walk to think about Him and His guidance. (See Mark 6:31.)
  2. Flip our net—change our thinking—from the earthly to the eternal by reading about our relationship with Jesus in the Bible, about eternity with Him, and about how He guides our earthly life. (See Romans 12:1-2.)
  3. Eat the fish—enjoy the blessings Jesus has already prepared for you and trust Him for the future. (See Psalm 16:11.)

As we sail through life, perhaps floundering in the waves of disappointments and plunging into the sloughs of despair, let’s “flip our net”—our viewpoint—to the right side of life. Let’s search for the abundance of God’s blessings just beneath the surface of our earthly insight.

Like my friend’s young children as they eagerly anticipated finding their heart’s joy just beneath the surface, we, too, can focus on Jesus. He offers abundant delights for us as we “flip our net” to grip the riches of His grace.


Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at

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Blue Ridge Christian News covers Avery County, Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, and Madison County in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.