Article: Launch out into the deep, God can remove emptiness of your life! | Jacob Varghese

I would like to begin with an incident to you. It was a gloomy day for Alex. He was not satisfied with the orders he has received from his higher Officers for a promotional transfer. His performance in the interview for promotion had been one of his best and he expected the management to post him near his own native place, where he had a good house, and where the living conditions were far better than now. He got this order posting him to a place he never expected. He had almost decided to put down his papers for resignation. Troubled, he went to his room took his Bible and started to flip the pages. At that time, he happened to read Luke 5:4-8 and his spirit revived. He realized that God was asking him to take up the new assignment which seemed hard and unpleasant. When Alex finally took the assignment and moved to the place of transfer, the Lord blessed him at the place of posting. He did extremely well there and soon he was again promoted to a higher level and rose up in his career and finally received posting to his home town. And later he testified that he learnt to submit to God’s plan in every little thing of his life. Will we do the same in our life as well? If we do, then the Lord will bless us and help us to reap greater rewards than we even think or imagine.

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I would like to take your attention to Luke chapter 5:1-11.This is a very familiar text for all of us. This passage talks about how Simon encountered Jesus. This also gives us a sense of how Jesus called one of his first disciples. I would like to share a few thoughts on this- how do we encounter Jesus? What happens when we encounter Jesus in our life? When we see first three verses, what we see here is Jesus was standing by the lake of Gennesaret and the crowd pressing toward Jesus to listen the word of God preached by Jesus. Luke is the only one who calls it a lake. The other gospel writers call it the Sea of Galilee and John twice calls it the sea of Tiberias. Lake of Gannesareth is an alternative name for Sea of Galilee. I was wondering why the crowd wanted to hear Jesus’ preaching. If we read a few verses earlier to this passage we find that Jesus has performed lots of miracles, lots of healings, He had healed many people who were demon possessed and people were witnessed that and they were amazed this man is wonderful and they had a kind of conviction that Jesus may be one of the prophets or may be God. So they wanted to hear more. But the text is not about those crowds, who wanted to hear the word of God. It is about Simon- what Simon is doing there? He is washing his nets. He had worked all night in the lake trying to catch fish but all his efforts were unsuccessful. He could not catch even one fish. He was feeling empty that day and he was washing his nets. Jesus saw two boats left there by fishermen. Suddenly Jesus comes there and because people were pressing towards Jesus, Jesus is asking Simon can I borrow your boat? Simon might have told ok, at least may be his boat will come in some use for Jesus. He quickly made a platform for Jesus to speak. Simon and his friends they worked all night and they could not get anything. I do not know if any one of you has night duty or not. It is very tough and tiring to work all night. In the morning as they were washing the nets, they may be thinking what happened to them, why they were not able to catch any fish, they were professional fishermen, and they know the sea, time and place where they could have a catch of fish. But that night was unsuccessful, they were very sad because now as they go back home, they have nothing to take back home. It was a kind of failure; they were feeling empty, irritated, disappointed, and depressed so they thought of cleaning their nets hesitantly and reluctantly but who knows Simon Peter was also listening to what Jesus was preaching from his boat. Jesus finished preaching, dispersed the crowd and then He comes to Simon. Jesus might have started speaking to him. Simon, why are you washing the nets? Washing their nets! Remember that little phrase here, it is very important.

After each period of fishing the nets were washed, stretched, spread and prepared for the use again. This means, Simon and his friends wanted to call it day and wanted to go home and rest a while or probably sleep to compensate the loss of sleep during their toil in the night. Simon and his friends were not part of the crowd but Jesus was noticing them and said to Simon let us go fishing or Jesus may be telling why not go back in to the sea and cast the nets once again. We see in vs4 Jesus said to Simon Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch. Simon would have thought- what? Once again! Is he crazy? I am already tired and am in need of immediate rest. Simon’s plan was to rest and sleep. God’s plan was different. Here Jesus is unveiling a new plan. Though Simon thought this new plan would put him in trouble again for nothing. Here we see where professional fishermen failed, a carpenter’s guidance to catch fish. Simon answered, Master, we have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets. Though he was hesitant but still he obeyed the Master’s word. Let us also have an unquestioning surrender. We know the rest of the story. An incredible performance and an amazing catch of fish. They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. Wow! Now Simon understood that his plan and the Master’s plan need to be the same. God’s plan may seem to differ! Yet His plan when allowed to supersede our plans will bring us the best results and reward. Jesus never intended to put Simon Peter into hard labor but had decided to help him see the fruits of his labor.
Let us trust God when our plans seem to fail. God in His infinite wisdom decides to intercept our plans and implement His own plans. This He does only to benefit us. Sometimes, we think, I have done everything that I have known and yet I have not seen any result. I doubt whether anything else will work out. This is what most of us say and do when we have failed in our efforts. We are unwilling to take up any suggestions or advice at such times. Simon Peter was probably in the same mindset. When the Lord told him to cast his nets once again; look at Simon Peter’s words but because you say so, I will let down the nets. He was tired, he was dejected, he was not in a mood to do anything but to go and rest. Yet, there was total surrender to the Lord’s will and plan, total submission to what Jesus said and a total commitment to go ahead with it. The immediate response of Simon Peter after hearing the Lord’s instruction had a touch of doubt. But Simon Peter had a mind to surrender his emotion as well as his response to the Lordship of Jesus. Not partially but totally. So he immediately jumped into action in spite of his exhaustion, pessimism and hopelessness. He also endured the strain and went with full concentration. The result of such surrender, submission and steering on was really amazing. He was able to catch two boats full of fish. Think of his first venture he could not even catch one! Let us not be in dilemma whether to pursue our plan or totally surrender and submit to God and proceed according to His plan? Here is Simon Peter encouraging us to fully submit and go ahead in full swing without having an iota of doubt. Our achievement will be much greater than what we have ever imagined because the plan is the Lord’s and not ours! Do not look in to your tiredness, hopelessness and dejection. But believe the Lord and say to Him, Lord I toiled with no result thus far. But now, I do according to your word. Bless my efforts. Help me to go ahead and become an achiever for you. Simon was going through emptiness in life though he was working hard. When Simon followed Jesus, Jesus removed the emptiness from Simon’s life and filled him to the brim. It is a place where God can change your thinking and your attitude toward the things of your past and give you a hope for the future. While emptiness feels horrible, if it is responded correctly, it can become a blessing. Emptiness by its nature desires to be filled. Emptiness does not go away until it is filled. Emptiness is a wakeup call to go to God, who is the one who can turn emptiness in to fullness and fill us with His fullness and blessing, even when everything around us remains in emptiness. Emptiness cries out that my life is empty, my motivation is empty, my spirit is empty and therefore I have empty resources. Only God can fill the emptiness of the soul.

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We need to launch out into the deep. God wants to bless us beyond our wildest dreams. Jesus is the same God who allows us to walk on water when our eyes are on Him and He also the same God who will keep us from drowning. We too will be astonished at our catch when we step out of our comfort zone and launch out into the deep with the Lord! We will have boat sinking, net breaking catch because God desires to reach people of His love. This also gives us a realization of ourselves. We read in Vs.8 when Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus knees and said Lord, I am a sinful man. But what did Jesus say to Simon; do not be afraid, from now on you will fish for people. So they pulled their boats up on the shore and followed Jesus. We are all not called to be preachers or teachers but we are all called to be witnesses for Christ, to spread the good news. When we have the spirit and act of obedience we will have the large reward. We need to realize ourselves and our situation and come to Jesus calling him Heavenly Father and tell him, I do not like the situation I am in right now. But I submit myself to your will because I know that it is allowed by you and that you will never do any mistake. I believe that you will certainly bring out a blessing from these difficulties I go through. Lord I surrender myself to your will totally. Let me not look at the impossible situation and lose hope but help me trust your word and plunge in to action. Let my confidence be in you and not in myself.

JACOB VARGHESE

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