Jesus climbed into the boat belonging to Simon Peter and said to him, “Let me use your boat. Push it off a short distance away from the shore so I can speak to the crowd.” Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished, he said to Peter, “Now row out to deep water to cast your nets and you will have a great catch.” “Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of your word.” When they pulled up their nets, they were shocked to see a huge catch of fish, and their nets were ready to burst!Luke 5:3-6 TPT
This passage has officially become a fave on this site. I wrote about it a while ago. I still go back and learn from it. Although something stood out for me in a different light this time around.
Last time we established that God is purposeful about everything concerning our lives. There is nothing about our life experience that is useless to Him. When we give Him our lives, we would be surprised by what He can do with the seemingly “unprofitable”. Especially when we choose to trust Him.
Now, what sank deeper as I read this text again was this: God is gentle with us. Intentionally. He never asks us to take ridiculous leaps, but knows just how much to stretch us in specific seasons. To us it may seem crazy when He asks or acts. We must rest assured that every move He makes is to bring us into alignment for what He has in store. The way Jesus (God) pushed Peter’s boundaries shows us this.
I’d like to think that Jesus knew Peter’s heart was downcast after toiling all night without catching any fish. Yet, we see Him asking Peter to push his boat a short distance away from the shore. It wasn’t clear to me before that this was Jesus’ way of cultivating trust between Him and Peter. At the same time probing obedience. See, obedience and trust are inseparable. We cannot trust someone and fail to obey them — in fact to be able to obey, we need to trust first. Jesus needed to get Peter in that place of trust and obedience in order to change the course of His life radically. He wants to do the same for you.
Jesus needed Peter a short distance from shore as a way to move him from what was comfortable — the land. There’s a false sense of safety that comes with being close to the land. Same applies to us, God is always challenging our lifestyle through His word to get away from what is comfortable. He desires that we don’t conform to worldly standards or find safety in systems built by men.
Anyway, once the boat was far from the shore Jesus began to teach from that distance. This just shows that there are some things people can only learn from “our boat” once we’ve created some distance. It could be a toxic relationship or you’re trying too hard to get people to buy into your vision. Create some distance, being too close can limit the view. But this is not my point…
Like I said, God is gentle. Why? He doesn’t force anyone into things. He is a relationship oriented person. Everything God does in our lives depends on the closeness we share with Him, personally. Encounters that bring about transformation are intimately experienced. Notice how Jesus instructs Peter to row deeper subsequent to His teaching. This is because trust had been established! Jesus was sure Peter trusted His word — after the first seemingly small move from the shore. God will never ask to dive deeper into something that He hasn’t given you a taste of. The devil tries to emulate this in his cunning, but he’s terrible at it.
One thing I’ve learnt is that the enemy always bombards and overwhelms, but God is gentle. We don’t usually notice it because we’re too used to the brutality of the world. Trust issues is a thing in the culture. If this resonates with you — I pray healing and restoration over your heart.
Peter had his own trust issues. It’s clear when he complains that him and his peers have “been there”. You know what they say, “been there, done that”. But did you experience fulfilment when you did? If your answer is no — dare to take God on His word.
But Peter and Jesus had built trust, it wasn’t difficult for Peter to try again. He rowed deeper with Jesus! When we row deeper guess what happens? We find fulfilment. Goodness me!
Listennnn, for Peter it was fish. For me it is wholeness. What is it for you? Peace in your home, being able to love again, clarity in your career, forgiveness, healing in your body and soul, friendships with substance, renewed strength for your life journey… what’s on your heart? God wants to meet you at your point of need. Allow yourself to row deeper with Him. He will exceed your expectations, just like Peter and his fellow fishermen — they caught so much fish that they’re nets were ready to burst!
Father. Your name is glorious! Thank you for speaking to us in various ways (even this blog). We need your help in becoming the people you created us to be. Yes, Lord give us courage to lean into Your gentleness and be intimate with You. Even as we open our hearts to trust Your word. It is You that we need and our heart’s cry is to be filled by You until the whole world knows of Your love.
Thank you for the grace to trust, obey and be close to You. Amen.