Water rushed into his ears, and muted the night sounds. The quiet underwater allowed the screaming questions and the agonizing apology to echo. When Peter broke the surface, he saw Jesus bending over the fire.
He swam until he could stand and thrashed through the water to the shore.
The unmistakable scar on the hand that stirred the coals and turned the roasting fish confirmed it. It is the Lord.
And yet, Peter couldn’t find words. The apology burned inside him, like the fish sizzling in its skin. His cloak dripped on the shore tapping out the moments of delay.
He turned around to see the boat towing the bulging net. He had only a few minutes, and no suitable words.
Turning back to Jesus, Peter opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came to him.
Then, in response to his awkward fidgeting, Jesus stood up from the fire and handed him a warm piece of bread.
Peter had always been a man to act before working out the details. He wanted to be near Jesus, even if only for a few moments. So he’d jumped.
Such holy impulsivity surely spurred a few words between them, but none are recorded for us. Just an awkward silence except for the lakeside sounds.
Even without words, who can deny the demonstration of repentance when a broken deserter, rushes unashamed toward the one he denied?
The fire, the fish, the bread, and the catch still being towed in speak of how Jesus had been working while Peter has been waiting and wondering.
Jesus silently waits for Peter. And when he arrives, Jesus meets him not with a blast of condemnation, but with a breakfast of fish and bread.
Sometimes we don’t know what to say to God in prayer. “Sorry” doesn’t seem to cut it. “Help” doesn’t seem specific enough. “Why” seems forceful. “Thanks” seems inadequate. Simply coming to Jesus, sorry and silent with a desire to be with Him, is as clear to Him as any words we might try.
Though we have failed Him, disappointed ourselves and others, He invites us to hurry back to Him, and rest in His overwhelming presence.
Even if there is an awkward silence, He welcomes you. Not with a fist, but with forgiveness.