Recently, I have spent time with a number of women who are striving to truly experience the Lord’s presence and live through the Spirit’s power and strength in their daily lives. They’ve been diving into His Word like never before and seeking to move past surface-level Christianity. But it’s not easy, y’all. So I’ve been thinking about what that really looks like…and how we live that out.
This morning at church, we studied the story of the Miracle Catch in Luke Chapter 5:1-11. Jesus had been teaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and noticed two empty boats. He chose to step into Simon Peter’s and had him push it out into the water, where he sat and taught awhile. When He was done, He turned to Simon in verse 4 and said, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” After some back and forth, Simon decided to listen to Jesus, and he went. His nets were so full from the amount of fish he caught, that they began to tear, and he had to call for help! Simon was so overcome that he fell at Jesus’ feet and Jesus said, “From now on, you’ll be fishing for people!”
There is so much more we could talk about in this story, but for now, this one thing is what the Lord laid on my heart: Jesus didn’t allow Simon to stay by the shore…or even out a little ways, where the boat had been pushed. Jesus told him to go out where it was deeper.
This isn’t the only place where we see Jesus’ disciples in deep water. When Jesus calmed the storm in Matthew 8:23-27, He and His disciples were going “across the lake.” And when He walked on water in Matthew 14:22-36, the disciples were “far away from the land.”
So what was the reasoning for sending His disciples into deep water? And how does this relate to us as we grow our relationship with the Lord and begin to share Him with others?
Here are a few things to consider:
1.Deep water requires deep faith.
When fishing in shallow water, you can generally see the bottom, but in deep water, you can’t see very far below the surface, unless you have a powerful light source.
If Jesus allowed the disciples to stay close to the shore, they wouldn’t need His light to see what was around them or catch the “fish” he sent them for. The uncertainty that they felt wouldn’t exist, and the reliance and faith they had to put in Him, wouldn’t happen because they would be able to “see” without believing. The amount of fish that they caught in deep, dark water, could only happen because of a supernatural source drawing them in. And it is the same way today.
“For faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 12:1
“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Cor.4:6-7
2.Deep water means facing deep things.
Jonah was a man running away from God, angry, defiant, and probably a little scared of what the Lord had asked him to do. He boarded a ship going in the opposite direction of where the Lord instructed, and a storm began. The sailors on his ship had no choice but to throw him overboard to calm the raging seas. But what a blessing. Because it wasn’t until he was sinking into the ocean depths that he truly cried out to God.
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me…But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you…” Jonah 2:1-3,6
Sometimes it takes drowning in our own sorrow and facing really hard things about ourselves to see and feel and realize the depths of the Lord’s love and provision for us.
When we go out into the deep, Jesus meets us where we are. And we have an obligation to meet others there too….even when you feel uncomfortable, ill-equipped, and maybe even a little hypocritical.
Jesus sent the disciples into the deep water so He could show up in an inconvenient, uncomfortable place. Out in the deep is where He met each of them individually. And that’s what love is. Showing up in inconvenient, uncomfortable places, where Jesus works in miraculous ways when we are willing.
3.Deep water causes deep fear.
In shallow water, safety is rarely an issue. You can touch the bottom if you need to and see any possible hazards. However, in the deep, you face the possibility of being swept away without a proper anchor to hold you fast.
In each of the three stories about Jesus’ disciples mentioned above, deep waters weren’t the only thing they had in common. In every one, Jesus had to tell his friends not to be afraid (Luke 5:10, Matt. 8:26, Matt.14:27).
Deep water is scary. The “what ifs” grow significantly the farther you are from solid ground. And Jesus knew that the disciples needed to grow their faith in a place where they couldn’t rely on their own sight or ability to stand on their own two feet. And we do too.
If we choose to go into the deep places with people, the hard, dark, scary places where we can’t see what may happen next and don’t know what to expect, we need an anchor to hold us fast. That anchor is Jesus. And He is right here with all of us who believe.
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:18-19
Y’all, going into deep waters is not always a fun thing. It is not always an easy thing. But if we are going to draw closer to Jesus and show people who He really is, we have to go into those places to grow our faith and see with our own eyes what our ears have heard about (Job 42:5).
He invites us to go deeper into our own walks and with those around us, so we can see His miracle-working power. His goodness. His faithfulness. And the reality that He is who He says He is. He never left the disciples. And He won’t leave you.
This year, shine His light as you go into places you may not be able to “see”. Seek Him and cry out to him in the depths. And do not fear! Go boldly with the assurance that He is with you, for you, and will save you and those you love from the depths because YOU ARE HIS.