Into the Deep

 

cast her net 1

This post was originally going to be a post and then I got brave and told our pastor that maybe I had something to share …. sometime. I told him that after the service on Sunday, on Tuesday he called and said, “How about THIS Sunday.” After a small panic attack and several phone calls I said yes and shared what the Lord had put on my heart. It had an impact and so I share it here with you today so that perhaps you, too, my dear readers may feel HOPE after a night of disappointment.

Lake of Gennesaret

Close your eyes and picture the scene:

It’s early morning on the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee). The water is calm. The fisherman are cleaning their nets after casting them all night with no results. These men are hardened by the elements, tough and unrefined, but they are patient, because you have to be in order to catch fish. They are diligent, if they aren’t their nets and boats break and they have no income.

washing netsThis morning was a discouraging one. They had worked all night and caught nothing. So here they were, on the shore, minding their nets. They weren’t at the market selling their wares because they had nothing to sell. I imagine they were quiet, anticipating going home and getting some much needed rest.

There is a lone figure on the beach. Standing. Watching the fishermen. He is not engaged with them. He just watches. Was he pondering what was going to happen shortly? Quietly revelling, smiling a little to himself? Anticipating the looks on their faces, I’d like to think so.

crowd

Along comes a noisy crowd of people, they come up to a lone figure who had been standing on the shore and he begins to speak to them.  The crowd presses in, closer and closer and he backs up a little until water laps his heels. He spies the boats and hops into one so that he can better address the crowd around him. The fishermen are listeners due to their proximity, not willingly participating but there, nonetheless.

 “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4)

Jesus speakingAnd Simon did it – after reminding Jesus that they had actually been doing that…ALL NIGHT LONG…with no results. He was tired, maybe a little annoyed with this guy who commandeered his boat, disappointed with a fruitless night of fishing…but he did it anyway and we know what happened after that!

the catch

  • They caught a lot of fish
  • They left everything behind and followed Jesus

Simon was the first disciple that Jesus called, he was the first one that got a name change, the first one to deny him in a big way, and one of the last ones that Jesus had an intimate conversation with (John 21).

That verse in Luke 5 caught my attention …Put out deeper…go further away from the comfort and safety of shore…get out there…

Deeper is harder.

Deeper is more risky.

Deeper isn’t always logical.

Or reasonable.

But it is where Jesus calls us to.

And why is He calling us there? Because, later on, He wants us to leave all that we gained from the deep places and go with him on shore.

It doesn’t seem logical or reasonable but that’s where he took Simon and his buddies and that is where He wants to go with us.

I get the distinct privilege of reading books and writing reviews for them. This month one of the books I received was from an author that I enjoy quite a lot, Emily P. Freeman. It is called Simply Tuesday. In this book she talks about finding ways to let our souls breathe, to find the greatness in the small moments, to slow down and unhook from  the busyness of fishing all night.

The same day that Luke 5:4 impacted me I read this in Emily’s book:

“When I am willing to explore my deepest disappointments I might be surprised to find my deepest desires lingering just beyond. Knowing Christ may only be possible when we come face-to-face with our deepest desire and are willing to walk through our deepest disappointments.”

AND, that same day I had half an ear tuned into a Beth Moore YouTube clip in which she was addressing the question, “What are you begging for?” She was talking about the lame man who cried out for alms, but what he really desired was LEGS. Now if a man sits around crying out, “Legs! Legs!” he will most likely get sent to the asylum. He knew he couldn’t ask for that because no one he knew was able to give him that. He hadn’t met Jesus yet.

His deepest desire was most likely to walk. His deepest disappointment was most likely that he didn’t think that would ever happen.

Our deepest desires, the things our hearts long for might be covered up by something we think we CAN get. We call out for this thing, like the lame man. We have become so accustomed to disappointment that we don’t ask for the deep desire anymore. Our hope has been quenched and we are tired of crying out.

I get that. I have been there and done that, bought the t-shirt and threw it away. I am well acquainted with disappointment. We all are to some degree.

  • Our career that we sacrificed all that money and time for is unsatisfying, boring, unmotivating
  • Our idea of the ideal family isn’t turning out that way – we have a prodigal, a miscarriage or a diagnosis that we weren’t expecting
  • Our marriage that we entered into so starry eyed looks bleak and hopeless
  • We worked as hard as we could for that class and our mark still didn’t reflect it and it means we won’t get the scholarship or award we were going for
  • The job opportunity fell through
  • The landlord wants the house back just about the time it felt like home
  • The best canola crop you’ve ever seen gets hailed out

We ALL understand the disappointment.

Simon understood disappointment. He had been working hard all night and caught NOTHING!

But he went out into the deep with Jesus and everything changed.

But how do we respond to those disappointments. There are two responses that come to mind.

Abraham received a promise but didn’t wait for the fulfilment of it. He took matters into his own hands and the result was disastrous. The crazy grace part of that is that God met him in that and fulfilled that desire anyway. He kept his promise even when Abe was unfaithful and jumped the gun.

The fishermen went out with Jesus into the deep water. They went out to walk through their deep disappointment and they received what they desired and sought out all night long.

The scripture doesn’t say whether or not they actually did anything with that catch. It looks a lot like they might have just left it there. Verse 11, “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

I want to read that quote from Emily’s book again: When I am willing to explore my deepest disappointments I might be surprised to find my deepest desires lingering just beyond. Knowing Christ may only be possible when we come face-to-face with our deepest desire and are willing to walk through our deepest disappointment.

We don’t know Simon’s deepest disappointment, other than the immediate lack of fish, but he bravely went and rowed right out into it.  But there’s a good chance his deepest desire had something to do with being known and having a purpose that was beyond a fishing boat, maybe something about helping people, we don’t get to have that insight.

Disappointment and desire walk together. If we didn’t have the desire the disappointment wouldn’t exist. But if you’re like me you might want to avoid disappointment so we move our sights off of the deep desire and onto something that might be available. We move from LEGS! To ALMS!. We might just get some alms, but legs, probably not, so let’s just shove that desire down where no one can see, just past the disappointment that took root when we figured out what legs were for and that we didn’t even get a ticket to try.

Jesus doesn’t despise our desires. He had desires, too. And disappointments and His Father met him in those disappointments with careful love and attention and Jesus does what He sees His Father doing.

Jesus took Simon out and responded to his immediate disappointment and gave him fish to fill his empty nets. Then he took him on shore to fill his empty soul.

There is a place on shore that you are meant to go towards, but you’re going to have to row out into the deep first. You’re going to have to cast a net.

Jesus understood Simon’s deepest desires, but he met the immediate, lower case desire first. Fish. Then he took that and called Simon deeper yet. Simon had trusted, obeyed, even allowed Jesus to take over his boat and therefore put himself in a position to receive more.

This is the other way we can meet disappointment, with HOPE. It reminds me of Reepicheep from the Narnia Chronicles. In the book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Reepicheep is on hand to go to the utter East with King Caspian because all of his life he has been waiting for this opportunity. In his cradle a dryad sang a song over him:

Where the sky and water meet,

Where the waves grow sweet,

Doubt not, Reepicheep,

To find all you seek,

There is the utter East.

 

Reepicheep lived his life in one direction. With this song in mind he says to King Caspian,

“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”
C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I love that heart. Reepicheep had the right idea. He obeyed in one, long direction and his hope was satisfied. He met many disappointments and set backs on his way. He wasn’t a young mouse anymore when he boarded the Dawn Treader. He went forward, doing what was before him to do and his hope was gloriously fulfilled.

So let’s talk about what disappointment looks like to you and me…

Let’s talk houses.

Yes, I have been living a reno nightmare. It has been more than a little disappointing, it has been disheartening and right now my hope is reduced to, “Can we please just plug in our brand new furnace that we purchased in February that got to run for about two weeks, before winter!” {it is working now!}

If I go with Jesus, out into the deep with this disappointment over my house what will I find lurking behind there? What desire will I find and what does Jesus want to do with that?

  • I want to provide a lovely place that is comfortable and safe for my family
  • I want to enjoy my surroundings
  • I love beauty
  • I like to decorate and make things nice
  • I like security and comfort

This reno has shored up my natural tendencies to not trust people to do what they say they are going to do, it has totally fed into a long standing disappointment stream of similar events.

So I build up walls to protect my heart, keeping people out, not believing that anyone will do what they say until I see it happen. I become Thomas – I will believe it when I see it.

I let my feelings and emotions about the whole thing just go numb so that it can’t hurt me so much.

There are reasons why things aren’t done. And I can’t do a single thing about any of them. That touches on my desire to control. I have zero control over this thing.

No place is unaffected by the reno…every room in our home has had a whole chopped in it somewhere or will have one coming…

BUT, there is a vision, a desired outcome of what will happen when it is finally done. So I hold on to the hope that there WILL be an end to the destruction and the reclaiming can begin.

Because we want to have you all over. We want to open the doors of that house and let it be used as a lighthouse in our neighborhood. We want to let our kids relax and enjoy being at home. We want them to have their friends over. We want to be hospitable and open-hearted, we want to be a place where people can come and reclaim their souls.

WE WANT TO BE THAT. And really, the house doesn’t actually matter. Because while we are crying out for relief from the reno nightmare what we really want is for our hearts to be healed so that we can pour out again. Our house is just a reflection of the state of our souls – a little wholly, cold, needing new windows and structural improvements. God is doing something that we don’t understand and mostly can’t see. It’s the stuff under the ground and behind the walls and to get at it he has to take some things away.

So we keep slogging through the depth of the disappointment so that we can get to the depth of the desire which is not about this earthly home at all but the heavenly one. And maybe he doesn’t want us to hold on so tightly to the drywall and the plumbing.

After the disappointments have been met with the fulfillment of the desire the boats are hauled to the shore

And left there.

Does that mean I will have to leave the house after it’s done?

Maybe.

Jesus did something in Simon’s soul when they were out there in the boat catching those fish. Something that provoked Simon, Andrew, James and John to leave that life completely behind and follow Jesus. It was something compelling.

Jesus said, “Now you will be fishers of men.” I am sure that they had no idea what that meant. But they had spent time with Jesus, he met them in their disappointment, fulfilled their surface desire and planted something much deeper.

Where is Jesus asking you to go deep with him today. What part of your life is he walking into right now and saying let’s go further.

  • Where is he asking you to cast your net?
  • Where do you need to sit on a bench with him and ask questions?
  • Why IS this so disappointing?
  • Where are you taking me?
  • Where are you asking me to go with you?
  • How do I cast my net again?

There is a treasure that you are looking for, maybe you’ve been seeking it for a long time. Maybe you have been at it “all night with nothing to show for it” and today he is in the boat with you and is asking you to cast your net

                                         just one

                                                               more

                                                                                        time.

the pictures of fishing boats were acquired off the internet from historical sites that I couldn’t find afterwards. I apologize that I can’t give the credit where the credit is due.

 

About Lani

With six kids, a farm, a ministry and dreams poking out in every direction I need plenty of grace to keep all the balls in the air. The sweet thing is that when I drop them, that crazy grace of God is there telling me I'm still okay...and you are, too...welcome to this place of grace.

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