Sunday, February 24, 2013

Leaving Shallow Waters

"Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, 
Launch out into the deep, 
and let down your nets for a draught."
Luke 5:4 
(KJV)

I thought I had left shallow waters a long time ago.
Thought I had launched out...
let go of "self-clingers"...
handed God my nets....
and ventured away from the shoreline.

I thought I was doing pretty good...
in letting go of my fear of the unknown...
and trusting God to not let me drown.

My thoughts and the thoughts of the Potter are worlds apart.
The Potter knows the truth.
He told me so...
today on the wheel.

His thoughts are so much bigger than mine.
His dreams for me so much more lofty.

"Self has held you back.
Dependence upon your own abilities.
Reliance upon your own capacities.
You fear to trust Me fully.
To just let go of the safety net.
You are afraid you will drown.
You need to feel ground beneath your feet.
The draught will not come...in shallow waters, child.
You will never have the depths of Me you so deeply crave...
until you are willing to let go...
of  you."

He glanced my way as He said the word "you".
His eyes seemed to pierce all the way to the inner core of my soul.
False pretense was stripped completely away.
There were no excuses.
The thoughts and intents of my heart
were laid out before Him like an open book.
Self-righteousness was completely disrobed.
There was no cloak...
no covering...
all was exposed.
I couldn't run...or attempt to hide.
His hand held me firm...
close to the wheel.

"Lord, I want to launch out.
I am tired of floundering...
in shallow waters.
I long to release control.
To fling myself at your mercy.
To trust you.
I have toiled...on my own....
trying to accomplish Your tasks...
as long as I could lean on my own understanding.
I see how self-reliant I really am."

In my heart, I so wanted to learn how to let go.
But, how to get rid of self-reliance?
Obviously, it is another clinger of self...
some of the residue...
that I could not see.
But, He sees.

"One day I was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret.
There were many there...
wanting to hear my words.
They pressed from every side.
I looked over and saw two ships.

The fishermen who owned them were nearby,
washing their nets, as if they were finished.

Peter was there.
He owned one of the boats.
James and John were there, too.
I decided to step on board Peter's boat,
so I could sit down and speak to the crowd.
When I was finished talking,
I told Peter to launch out into the deep
and let down his nets to receive a draught of fish.
At first, he hesitated.
He told me he had fished all night long
and hadn't caught one fish.
Peter was a good fisherman.
He knew the lake by heart...
had spent a lot of time there.
I saw it in his eyes.
He thought he knew more about it than I did.
I watched as he fought a fierce inner battle
between his own self-sufficiency and My command.
Peter always was impulsive.
Strong-willed.
Confident in his own capabilities.
It was hard for him to let go...and just trust Me.
Walking with Me daily,
seeing what I could do,
sensing the changes I was making in him and others...
was slowly breaking down his resolve...
to depend on his own strength.
After a little while, he melted and decided to do things My way.
He turned the boat away from shore...
out into the deep.
I knew where the fish were.
I created them.
When we got there,
Peter let down his net.
The onslaught of fish was so great,
it broke his nets.
He and his friends motioned to the men in the other ship
to come and help gather the fish.
They came,
filled both boats...
to the point that the boats began to sink.
That was the day Peter saw...
Who I really am....
what I can do.
You need to see this.
You need to focus on My ability...
not your own.
You are limited.
You won't grow in shallow waters.
You will never reach the potential I have planned for you to reach...
as long as you hold back...
as long as you cling to the shore...
as long as you depend on your own safety nets...
as long as you rely on self.
It wasn't enough for Peter.
It is not enough for you.
I created you to need Me."

How many times have I proved the validity of His words?
Why do I feel the need to continue to wade in shallow waters,
trusting in my own capabilities?
I always need to feel that my feet can touch bottom,
since I don't know how to swim.
Why can't I trust Him to keep me afloat?
I realize I am not enough.
I acknowledge that He is.
So, why do I continue to cling to selfishness?
When I have proven time and time again
that He will not let me go?

The Potter continued,
"There are deeper waters...
much deeper...
than the ones into which you have yet dared to venture.
You need to let down your nets....
those nets of safety to which you so tightly cling.
Turn loose of the lines holding you to shore....
giving you a sense of security.
Just let them go.
Step out into the deep.
Don't worry when you can no longer feel ground beneath your feet.
Everlasting arms are beneath you.
Holding you up.
Holding you close.
You can trust Me, child.
How long must I prove that to you?"

Such a penetrating question.
And one that I have asked myself over and over.
I really don't know the answer.
I have relied on "self" for so long.
Depended on "me".
When will I learn that I am so undependable...
so incapable...
of doing anything at all without Him?

The Apostle Paul said in Acts 17:28,
"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being..."

I think it all boils down to us coming to the point that
we truly realize the truth in Paul's words.

It is not about me....
but about the fish out in the deep waters.
The souls God has placed there.
Ones who need to hear about Jesus.
Ones who yearn for Him and long to know more about Him.
I won't reach them comfortably seated on the shore.
I will never meet them wading leisurely around in shallow waters.
The safety of firm ground beneath my feet is tempting.
The security of my comfort zone compels me.
But, I see Jesus standing on top of deep water...
far ahead of me....
surrounded by blinded, drowning people who need to see Him, too.

I hear my heart cry,
"Lord, if it is you,
bid me to come to You."

He beckons.
Both arms are wide open.

I take one staggering step...
then another....
then another....
each time it is harder for me to reach bottom.
At last, I can feel the ground no more.
My head is barely above water.
I start to look around me...
feel a sense of panic....
terrified, I flail.
Then, at once, I have reached Him.
He stands...
on top of the waves...
calm, incredibly strong...
and I see His hand...
reaching for mine.

"Help me, Lord!
I am drowning!"

"No.
I won't allow that.
I am here.
And I always will be.
You are not alone.
With the sacrifice of self-surrender,
I am well-pleased."

His words soothe my rattled nerves.
Bring a sense of peace and calm.
The waves are still.
I am safe.

I talked to my cousin, Eddie, in Tennessee the other day.
He inspires me every time we talk.
He is on fire for God....
has amazing zeal and a burning desire within him to reach the lost.
His most pressing burden is for the homeless.
There are literally hundreds...
right there...
in and surrounding my Dad's hometown.
His words, spoken in true Tennessee drawl,
 are still ringing in my ears.
"It's like I told the churches around here.
Jesus didn't sit up in the Temple waiting for people to come to Him.
He went out...met them...on their level.
He set the example.
We should do the same."

He has launched out into deep waters.
Over his head.
Completely left his comfort zone.
The undertaking he has taken on makes my head swim.
He and a friend are renovating an old building,
turning it into a homeless shelter.
Once it is finished,
he isn't going to go home at night to the comfort of his own home.
Not Eddie.
He plans to move into the shelter...
and live with the homeless.
He plans to provide meals,
for the body and the soul.
He has a heart for God.
He has let go of the shoreline...
and he's going after the fish.
Wherever he can find them.
Regarding not personal cost.

He isn't wealthy.
He is trusting God...
and God alone.
I don't think he has a safety net left.
Thankfully, he doesn't need one.

Neither do you, my friend.
Thank God, neither do I.



The sky may be gray.
The road ahead may be slippery and uncertain.
But, the Potter has already walked this way...
ahead of us.
He has cleared the path,
and He will not let us fall.

Leave shallow waters behind...
and trust Him.








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