Ever feel like your life is a broken record?
How many times have you gone to bed and thought, “Well, I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Ask anyone who’s breathing and they can relate.
“Go out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Luke 5
This is a pretty famous story in the bible. The gist is this: Jesus takes a fisherman named Simon, out into a boat to teach and fish. Simon was clearly not a very good fisherman, because he had been fishing all day and all night and ended up with diddly squat.
So then Jesus says His infamous one liner: “Go out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
Ofc, Simon protests, “Lord, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
He does. And proceeds to fill up the net with so many fish that it nearly breaks. So they summon another boat and they fill up both boats with so many fish that they begin to sink.
OK, whatever, great story. I’m not a fisherman, nor really a fan of fish… soooo what’s the point here?
I was at church the other day, and they read this story. And they talked about the usual: about following what Jesus tells you to do. About being “fishers of men.” Yaddy yaddy yaddah.
Frankly, I’ve been hearing the same preaching on that verse since I was 5.
And as I was walking home, as one does in NYC, my mind was wandering and pondering. Thinking about that story. And something new was put on my heart.
Those were the two words that just flooded my heart.
Back in biblical times, fishing was a lot different than it is today. First of all, it was done with nets. And secondly, the majority of the fishing was done from shore or in shallow water. The fisherman would either throw the nets from shore, or they’d put a big dragnet into shallow waters with a boat, and then drag it in from the beach.
Going out into deep water was a big deal, as there weren’t motors — so it was hard work. And it required a big, strong crew. So the techniques used for fishing were mainly from the shore or in shallow waters.
Jesus tells Simon to go out to deep water.
AKA: do something different. Do what is difficult. Do something radical.
Simon had been trying and trying and trying unsuccessfully to catch fish.
I don’t know about you, but that just sounds dismal. You’re out in the hot sun all day. There’s no deodorant. No bug spray. Your nets and buckets smell like old fish. There’s no Pandora to listen to. And you’ve been working your arse off all. day. And you literally have nothing to show for all your hard work. Hell, you don’t even get a good selfie out of the whole situation! I’d be about ready to bang my head against a wall!
We don’t have to be fisherman to understand this sentiment.
Doesn’t that sound like recovery in a lot of ways?
Doesn’t that sound like life in a lot of ways?
How many times have you tried and tried to do something and just fallen short?
Studying for exams. Trying to make the varsity team. Getting a promotion at work. Trying to win over a particularly difficult person. Battling an addiction or harmful thought pattern.
There were phases in my recovery where it felt like every day I was casting out net after net after net and coming up with nothing. I’d slip up with exercise. Get fixated on perfection. Let ED harangue my body image and self-worth.
I was trying. But getting nowhere. Perhaps you can relate.
I had to go to deep water to do something.
I had to surrender.
I’m gonna keep this short, so as not to get preachy.
The last thing to take away, was that Jesus didn’t tell Simon to go out and catch those fish while He lounged on the beach sipping Pina Coladas.
Jesus was in the boat with Simon.
“Go out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”