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Problems, we all have them. We just need to find the best solutions. One time I went on a vacation in the deep woods of Maine at my brother’s lake camp. I went to bed and outside my bedroom window was a love-sick bullfrog calling to his mate. “No problem,” I thought. “I can handle a bullfrog.” The reason is simple. I live at 1105 Boylston Street. At 11:20 pm during the summer, the baseball game gets out at Fenway Park, and there is a traffic jam in front of my bedroom window. At about 2:15 am, happy people walk under my window after the bars close. At 4:00 am, a student with insomnia can’t think of anything better to do than to play the bongo drums in front of my bedroom. I can handle a bullfrog. The frog sounded off in threes. “Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.” About a minute later it makes three more sounds: “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit….” About two minutes late, the lovesick frog sounds off again this time: ribbit, ribbit. That was only two. What happened to the third? Augggggggh! The next morning, I said to dad, “That bullfrog is driving me crazy.” Dad said, “I know what to do.” He got a red cloth, rolled it into a ball, the size of a marble, and tied it to a string. He went outside, and he dangled the red cloth, bobbing it up and down the tall grass in at the shoreline. Sure enough, a large bullfrog charged at the cloth and grabbed it. As it was dangling in midair, Dad said, “Grab it, grab it.” So I grabbed it, and we ran down the dock, jumped into the powerboat, and drove to the other side of the lake. When he pulled up to some tall grass in front of some guy’s camp, he said: “toss it.” I let it hop out of my hand into the tall grass on the other side of the lake. That night we slept beautifully. I had a problem and found a solution.

I just got back from some hospital work and Brother Jerry informed me that we had a bat in the house. I thought he was kidding, but I turned the corner, and a bat was flying around in the hall downstairs. So the first thing I did was turn to my friends and ask them how do you get a bat out of the house. Naturally, they were all experts at getting bats out of homes and advised me to shoot it. Knowing that was not a viable option, I called an exterminator. He informed me that it is very difficult to get a bat out of the house. On top of this, he needed to find out how the bat got into the house by checking the entire gutter line for potential openings. I said, “That sounds expensive.” He said, “Unfortunately.” After I hung up, I went on YouTube and typed “How to get a bat out of the house.” A woman comes on the screen, and she said, “There are two things you need to know in order to get a bat out of your house. First, do not shoot the bat, and second, it is very easy to get a bat out of the house. Just let the bat fly around until it flies into a room. Isolate the bat from the rest of the house by shutting the door. The bat will land on the wall or floor. Approach the bat with a plastic container, and don’t worry about the bat flying away, the bat he can’t see you. Cover the bat with the container and slide a piece of cardboard between the opening of the container and the wall. Once the bat is in captivity, bring the container outside and let the bat go free. Remember the bat is your friend because he eats mosquitoes.” I thought to myself, “That will never work; it is too easy.” Still, I went against my better judgment and tried it. Sure enough her words came true. The bat flies into the laundry room, I shut the door, and there it is resting on the floor. I took a container, and I was amazed everything happened exactly the way she said. So I had a problem, sought out a solution, and found one that went against my better judgment.

I say all this because Peter in Luke’s Gospel has a problem. He is a fisherman, and he can’t catch fish. So he seeks a solution by welcoming a new captain on board. Note carefully that everything Jesus tells Peter will go against Peter’s good judgment. It goes against his professional opinion and his experience as a fisherman. Yet, he accepts his new captain by following his instructions. For Peter, it was a life-changing experience. We encounter problems in life. They are not always a bad thing because it forces us to seek solutions that are beyond ourselves. When we welcome Christ on board be warned that often the captain will give us directives that go against our better judgment, our professional opinion, and our personal experience. We just need to listen.

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