“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish. “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.” – Luke 5: 4-7.
I love this story. Peter is frustrated, tired, and weary. A night of fishing has been a complete bust. He and the other fisherman caught absolutely nothing. In the morning, Jesus finds Peter washing his nets. Jesus, seeking a little space from which to speak to the crowds amassed all around Him, commandeers Peter’s boat. Peter apparently is okay with having his boat appropriated. Jesus then tells him to launch the boat into deeper water and let down the nets. Really, a teacher telling a professional fisherman how to fish. Peter tells Jesus in frustration, “Hey, we’ve been fishing all night. We know fish. The fish don’t run in the day.” Peter probably wanted to finish cleaning the nets and go home and hope for better luck tomorrow.
So Peter does something that doesn’t make sense, letting down his nets after he’d been fishing all night and caught nothing. But at that moment they hit the mother lode. Can you imagine the expression on the fishermen’s faces as they struggle to haul in this catch, call their friends over to help, and barely get their boats to shore before they sank.
It is easy to stay in shallow water. The shallow water is a safe place to cast our nets. But it is also the place where we may not catch any fish. How do we respond when we hear God instruct us to move into deeper waters? Do we suggest that we prefer the shallows? Do we theorize that things are just fine in the shallows? After all, I can see the bottom in the shallows. I am comfortable in the shallows.
Sometimes God wants us in deeper waters where we love our enemies, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, forgive completely, minister to the least of these, and spread the gospel. Deeper water is “faith territory.” The blessings are out where you are over your head and Jesus must be trusted to get you through whatever the situation may be. It takes faith and courage to tread into deeper waters. Moving into deep waters requires us pull up our anchor keeping us in place and to turn over our control to God. But it is in the deep water that we catch what God has for us.
- When God instructs us into deepwater: Do we hesitate to answer? Do we linger in the shallows?
- What can we do this week to better understand the love and grace of God?