By Janet Morris Grimes –
We know what to do. We rely on our training and experience. We follow the rules, demonstrating proper protocol while banking on an expected result. But many times, our knocks on the doors of opportunity go unanswered, leaving us frustrated and searching for answers.
What happens when we do everything right but still have nothing to show for it?
Jesus had an unexpected answer for this dilemma. Technically, most of His answers were the opposite of what many thought they might hear.
Peter and his crew spent the night fishing. It is what they knew. They were the experts, and for whatever reason, the fish were not biting, even though all the proper procedures and techniques had been followed. The fishermen were exhausted, and were in the process of washing their nets to hang them to dry in defeat, for that day at least.
Jesus watched from a distance before using one of the vacant boats to speak to a crowd that had gathered around him.
He then said this to Peter, as captured in Luke 5:4 (NIV), “Launch out into the deep, and prepare your nets for a catch.”
Peter may not have agreed with that advice, but he knew enough about Jesus to listen. Perhaps Peter was trying to prove Him wrong. Perhaps he reacted out of gratitude for the fact that Jesus had already raised Peter’s own mother-in-law from the dead a short time earlier. Perhaps Peter was willing to follow through simply so he could spend more time alone with Jesus. Whatever the reason, his response is noteworthy.
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But, because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5 NIV).
Peter did not understand what Jesus suggested, but he followed anyway. The result was that Peter’s net became so full that he had to call in the back up boat for assistance. Soon, both boats were beginning to sink because of the great number of fish inside them.
The lesson is simple. Sometimes, Jesus tells us to launch deeper. Even if we are at our wit’s end. Even if we are out of ideas. Even if it makes no logical sense to do so. Even if Satan reminds us of past failures from the last time we tried to go deeper. Even if the economy is bad. Even if we struggle to find a job. Even if we wonder what we are accomplishing. Even if the world is going in the opposite direction.
What matters is that we learn to follow. To launch deeper, past the point of no return. Launching deeper means we can no longer see the shore. It requires us to depend on more than our own bearings, to change our course of action, along with our direction.
Going deeper usually demands that we do the opposite of what comes naturally.
And maybe that was the point of it all. Jesus had a way of going against the grain. He loves it when we have no choice but to trust Him, and Him alone. When we are literally in over our heads, only he can lift us higher.
And when He says to prepare our empty nets for a catch? Get ready, because the impossible and unexplainable will soon follow.