When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let the nets down for a catch."
(Luke 5: 4)
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds by the lake of Gennesaret, Simon and his fellow fishermen were doing what felt familiar to them, they were fishing. The events of the crucifixion and resurrection had certainly left them in a state of shock. So much had happened in such a short time, they probably needed a moment to catch their breaths. They had gone fishing as they had done when they first met Jesus, and they were expecting the same old catch; perhaps they were expecting to go back to life as usual. What the disciples forgot is that an encounter with Jesus changes everything. Their lives were routine until Jesus entered the picture. On this occasion, Jesus commanded them to do something peculiar, Jesus told them to put their nets into the deep water (Luke 5:4). Jesus told them to fish where they had never fished before.
From a human perspective, I can only imagine how Simon and his friends felt after hearing Jesus' unusual command...perhaps apprehension, doubt, or fear. There is nothing comforting about deep water. It is dark, mysterious and frightening. I bet these fishermen had all kinds of reasons bubbling in their minds as to why this might not be a good idea. After all, this new idea of deep water fishing was contrary to what the other fishermen on the shores were doing so why should they take the risk of being different? But wait a minute, ...this was Jesus! They had spent three years with him and knew that he was no ordinary being. They had seen him feed the hungry, heal the sick, and bring the dead to life. They could definitely trust him. Perhaps for this reason, Simon put his faith in Jesus saying, "...at thy word, I will let down the net (vs.5b)" Simon did not require justification for such an unusual command, all he needed was Jesus' word.
There are times in our lives when God speaks telling us to launch into the deep. This call may frighten some of us and cause us to focus on our deficiencies, rather than on God's sufficiency. Going into the deep takes a special kind of courage. It takes faith in the one who guides. I believe God calls believers into the deep not so much because of ability as the world does, but because of our availability and willingness to follow him wherever he leads. But willingness to follow does not just happen by osmosis, but through a close relationship. As we walk with Jesus daily, and as he equips us for the task, we learn to trust him more and more.
Perhaps this is a season when God has been speaking to you about launching into the deep but you are afraid of failure, you are afraid about what others might say and you are uncertain about following him into the unknown. Maybe you are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the call and don't know what to do. Or it could be that the little inner voice within you is telling you, "Just continue with life as usual, it's less complicated." Life as usual may be less complicated but it yields a thin harvest. Whatever your case remember this, an encounter with Jesus changes everything. You and I were born for more. He put us here on this earth for a greater purpose. God put us here to fish in the deep because that's where the biggest haul of fish can be found. Simon discovered that obedience led to the greatest catch they had ever had. "Simon and his friends, beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship that they should come and help them (vs.7a). Obedience to God leads to abundant living in him.
Following God by faith can be a frightening prospect even for mature believers. Like a toddler learning to walk we may even fall a few times but in time we learn to hear his voice providing assurance that his presence will never leave us. We learn to trust that even if we fall, he will be there to catch us. And as we grow in faith and trust, we can grow in confidence as we follow him into the deep and do his bidding in new and exciting ways. In the end, it's not really about doing, as it is about growing in grace, growing in trust and growing in relationship with him. I pray that today you will find the courage you need through the power of the Holy Spirit to follow him into the deep.
Father, I honor you with all that I am and all that I have. Give me the grace to obey your word with simple childlike faith and to remember that my encounter with you has changed everything. Show me your way and give me courage to follow you into the deep. In Jesus' name, Amen.