“When they brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.”-Luke 5:11
Do you ever find yourself being called out in the deep waters of life?
I know I have. Often I find myself feeling like I am stranded and alone, just floating farther and farther away from the the shore. It feels as if my arms are reaching up out of the water trying to grasp onto something as life’s circumstances continue to push me down under the water, leaving me gasping for air.
Have you been there too, friend?
Whether it is a string of small setbacks all at once, or a major life altering circumstance, life is unpredictable and can leave us feeling as if we have nothing to hold onto. No life preserver in sight. We can feel as if we continue to be pulled deeper and deeper into the darkest and deepest parts of the water.
So where can we turn and what can we hold onto when life throws us into the deep end?
He will make a way.
But, for Jesus to make a way and pull us out of those deep waters, we must have an open and willing heart. A heart ready to receive grace and a heart ready to follow the path He sets out for us. Jesus will be there, even if that means being pulled farther out into the deep waters before heading back to the safety of the shore.
In Luke’s gospel, we hear of the call of Simon the fisherman. It is a story many of us have heard, when Jesus calls Simon to take his boat out into the deep waters and lower the nets to catch some fish. Simon reluctantly obeys Jesus’ command after having fished all night only to catch nothing. Simon is unaware of why Jesus wants him to do this and likely has little faith that anything will be caught, but when they lowered their nets into the deepest waters they caught more fish than the nets could hold.
When I read this gospel story, I think of my own relationship with Jesus, and wonder how many times Jesus has asked me to go out into the deep waters only to be met with resistance from me. Jesus wants us to obey Him and to trust in His instructions. This requires us to have complete acceptance of His grace and surrender to what His plans are for our lives.
That is heavy stuff. Those words, when read, make me uncomfortable. Those words make me feel out of control. Uncomfortable and out of control are two things I am definitely not a fan of. But, looking back at Simon’s call from Jesus, do you think he was a fan of what Jesus was asking?
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”-Luke 5:5
My guess is no and scripture even indicates that in Luke 5:5 when Simon says, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” I can vividly see the look on Simon’s face when he hears Jesus’ instructions being a look of annoyance on top of internal thoughts going through his head like “he is crazy,” “this is pointless,” or “I’m so tired from putting in all this work and he wants me to keep trying?” While these thoughts and frustrations very well could have been going through Simon’s mind, he obeys his master. The deep waters Jesus sent Simon and the others into yielded more fish than they could have ever imagined, because Simon obeyed. Simon accepted and he surrendered control.
When I look back on some situations in my life, I can now see where I did not obey. I can see where I was not accepting of the power of God’s grace and where I did not trust and surrender control to Him. Some parts of my life are easy to see where that happened, other parts are not as easy to see. On the other hand, I can also see situations and areas of my life where I surrendered control, obeyed the Lord and trusted Him even when I did not understand or know where He was leading me. Those times of complete acceptance and surrender to God were times that I let God’s grace hold me up and give me the power and endurance to go out into the deep waters. Through His grace, I was able to endure the extra work to lower my net for Him, trusting that He would bring me back safely into to shore.
“Those times of complete acceptance and surrender to God were times that I let God’s grace hold me up and give me the power and endurance to go out into the deep waters. Through His grace, I was able to endure the extra work to lower my net for Him, trusting that He would bring me back safely into to shore.”
I will soon share with all of you the deep waters that I was led into and how I relied on Christ to rescue me and bring me to shore. I will share how His grace gave me the power to get through a heart-shattering experience in my life. For now, I want you to rest in the truth that God will always be there in the deep waters. He will not leave, but it is our job to be like Simon and to obey Him, accept His instruction, and hand Him control. He will be there to hold you.
Be held by His grace. Let him fill your net when you don’t have the strength and endurance. Let him bring you out of the deep waters to the shore. He will, if you are willing.
As Luke 5:11 says, “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” He is waiting for you in the deep waters. Don’t be afraid. He will find a way. I hope you will join me as I continue the journey to follow Christ, accept His grace and rely on Him to guide my path. The journey will be so much sweeter with you by my side. Let’s jump into the deep waters together and let Christ be our guide.
Dear Lord, I want to have a heart ready to receive your grace. Open my heart to your ways and guide me to accept the path you have set out for me. Help me rest in the truth that even when the waters get deep, you will always find a way to bring me back safely to shore. In Jesus' Name, Amen.