In Luke chapter 5, we read that Jesus was teaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Simon and his companions had fished all night and were on the shore cleaning their nets. As the crowds pressed against Jesus, Jesus went and sat in Simon’s boat. Simon dutifully did as Jesus asked and rowed a ways from land so Jesus could teach the crowd.
When Jesus finished speaking, he told Simon, “Put out into the deeper part, and let down your nets for a catch.”
Not many of us want to go to the deeper part. It’s the place of total helplessness where our feet no longer touch ground.
Simon didn’t want to go there, and it wasn’t because it was deep. It was because he’d already been there.
“We’ve been working hard all night,” he told Jesus, “and have caught nothing at all.”
We all need to be led to the deep. That’s the place where self-reliance ends and total trust in God begins.
That family member who has walked away from God doesn’t need another lecture. The rebellious child or wayward spouse isn’t waiting for another argument to make him or her change. Our complaints against the government won’t change policies or hearts. A new slogan won’t lead people to the church in droves.
The battle is won on our knees, whether we’re in over our heads and completely helpless to do anything about it or not. God is in the deep because God created the deep.
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?” (Job 38:8-11).
Being in over our heads is not the problem. Refusing to turn to God for rescue is where the problem lies.
Don’t fear the deep and don’t fear the battle. Just get into the boat with the Master and hang on.
When Simon did as he was told, he caught such a large number of fish that the net began to break and he had to call for help. Both boats began to sink because of the catch. Once on shore Simon fell to his knees and confessed his unworthiness.
Perhaps it’s time to stop huffing and puffing. Start praying instead, continually, in the name of Jesus. He knows how weak we are. He knows we like to do things ourselves. And he knows what it will take for us to finally quit imagining that we have the power to change things and look to him instead.
Amber Albee Swenson has authored four books, writes an occasional devotional blog, and is a regular contributor to several Christian organizations. In 2011 she started speaking to women with the intent of bringing the Bible to life in tangible, applicable ways.
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