“Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
This is an instruction Jesus gave to the fisherman, Simon-Peter nearly 2000 years ago. It sounds promising… But Simon, a professional fisherman, familiar with the lake, had just spent the whole night fishing with his crew, and they caught nothing.
Now, after a long night of disappointment, Jesus says to go back out, but to go deeper.
Sometimes God calls us to go further, to dig deeper, to step up and go again, after we’re tired, frustrated, disillusioned or just afraid. He tests us. But He doesn’t test us so we would fail, or to frustrate or punish us. He tests us to bring us into a new level and function of His grace. And with God, His tests are always followed up with reward.
And we all love rewards!
At the time of my writing, NZ is in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news is a constant flow of worst-case scenarios, and warnings, that if we don’t self-isolate, we could cause the death of thousands. Nations have closed down their borders, closed their businesses, and closed down daily life as we knew it. Fear is the #1 driver of information and activity. Governments are offering no message of hope.
For the follower of Jesus Christ, we should neither be afraid, nor surprised. Jesus warned that in the end times there would be wars, famines, earthquakes and plagues. (Matthew 24 & Luke 21).
And for the person who has their faith firmly fixed on Jesus Christ, death is not our end, nor to be feared. It’s simply the turning of the page from Chapter 1, to Chapter 2. Jesus has brought His faithful into an eternal life and a Kingdom that will never end. This life - Chapter 1, is only preparation for the life to come in Chapter 2! We belong in a never-ending legacy of hope.
The Prophet Isaiah said: ‘See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.’
Be careful not to sink into the darkness surrounding the world at this time. Look for what God is doing. His light is rising over you.
For Simon-Peter, his disappointing life was about to be turned around and brought into a completely new reality that would last for eternity. He didn’t know it, but at his low point, Jesus was going to turn the situation around to be his highest point! As much as Simon didn’t want to go back out into deep waters for another frustrating, pointless fishing mission, he chose to listen to Jesus and do what He said (Luke 5:6-7):
“But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6. 'When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
7. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.'
They would never have imagined they could catch so many fish in one trip. Not even 2 fishing vessels could contain the catch! Simon-Peter was tested; and Simon-Peter was rewarded… super-abundantly!
A key message to our church this year is: ‘Go Deeper’
Luke 5:4 “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
When things are going well, and we have what we need, we often satisfy our spiritual journey playing in the shallows. But we belong to a heavenly Kingdom that can only be truly experienced and shared when we trust God to go into the deep. Jesus is calling us to go deeper in Him, His Word, His ways.
“Let down the nets for a catch”.
In the midst of fear and intimidation spreading around the world, stay tuned into God, and what He is saying. God’s plan for His people is a mighty harvest, a great outpouring of grace, a latter rain. In the midst of the darkness, you have a light rising over you.
This is a new day, with a new way, for a new thing.
Don’t misinterpret the times based upon the media and news reports. God always takes care of His people and works all things together for their good. Just as Peter discovered, what God had in mind for him was far greater than anything he could have imagined himself.
Could these current circumstances be the preparation for the greatest Kingdom harvest in history…?
I think so.
But who’s taking the time to seek God and listen to His voice?
Let’s make sure we’re tuning into the right frequency. The airwaves are full of commentary, projections, worst-case scenarios. But there is one channel that is true, reliable and has light for the darkness.
‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’. Ps 119:105
Seek God in His word in a much deeper and consistent way. Turn down the volume of the world, listen to His voice, and follow Him. He’s bringing us into a new thing and it’s a good thing.
Very, very good.