We are so prone to make such a mess of our lives—so prone to be wasteful with the good gifts that God has given us. And then life in this world has its ways of grieving and harming us even apart from our own sin. George H. Morrison once reflected on all this as he considered the words of 1 Peter 5:10, which read as follows: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle” (NKJV). He observed that the word that Peter uses for “make you perfect” is the same word that is used for mending nets. Thus, “It is as if Peter had said, ‘The God of grace, whatever else he may do, will mend your nets for you’.” And here is how he applied this.
Nets are often broken through encountering some jagged obstacle—caught by some obstruction in the deep and, clearing themselves free of it, are torn. It may be a piece of wreckage in the sea. It may be the sharp edge of some familiar reef that has been swept clear of its seaweed by the storm. But whatever it is, the net drags over it, is caught and torn, and, tearing itself free, it gapes disfigured like some wounded thing.
Are there no human lives like that? Maybe a hidden and surprising sin does it, maybe a sudden and overwhelming sorrow; it may be the ruin of a cherished friendship or the wreckage of a love that meant the world or some swift insight into another’s baseness where we dreamed there was sincerity. In such an hour as that the net is torn. There is a tearing of the very heartstrings. Faith is shattered, and God is but a name, and life seems the shallowest of delusions. For always, when we lose our faith in people, there falls a shadow on our faith in God, so that the very stars seem to have no master, and goodness seems only the mockery of a dream.
The torn net entails missing the riches that are at hand on every side. And that was the pity of the useless net—all that was precious was so near at hand and yet might have been a thousand miles away.
We have sinned, and we have sinned greatly. We have done our very best to spoil our lives. We have wasted time and squandered opportunity and been unloving and utterly unworthy. Thanks be to God, in spite of all that—and of things that may be darker than that—the broken net is going to be mended. He forgives us completely, he is pledged to save us completely. Deeper than our deepest need are the infinite depths of his compassion. It is in such a faith that we give him our lives, which are so torn and ragged, assured that his grace will be sufficient for us and his power made perfect in our weakness. God’s hands are powerful and can grasp tremendously when the wind is high and the waves are raging. But his hands, too, with a delicacy infinite and with tenderness, can mend the broken net on life’s shore.