I love the water. I love to look at it whether it is in an aquarium, a pond or the ocean. I love to be in water floating on top or diving underneath the waves. Yet there is a primordial fear that I have to swallow when I venture out into deep water either swimming or in my kayak. When I am no longer sure of the depth or what lies beneath my heart pace quickens. I begin to imagine the same sorts of things that inspired the early cartographers to draw scary monsters at the edge of their maps to symbolize the unknown.
Jesus invites Simon to venture out into deep water. All night Simon and his companions have been fishing. They have plied the familiar waters with their nets and have come up empty-handed. But Jesus encourages Simon to leave the shoreline, to go farther, to leave the safety of the shallows and head out into the unknown depths. Though weary and doubtful Simon takes a chance. He risks failure and disappointment and follows the same instinct that welcomed Jesus to take a seat in his boat in the first place.
Simon Peter took a chance and lowered his nets into the abyss. When he brought them back up they were teeming with fish, a catch beyond his imagining.
When Simon Peter recognized the miracle in what was taking place it made him aware of how limited and small his world had been before he met Jesus. He knew that if he followed this man his life would change forever. He had no clear picture of what the future might hold other than that he would be introduced to a new way of living not just for himself but giving his life for others.
Perhaps you have had a similar experience. You have heard about Christ, maybe you have come to know him a little bit. But then comes the invitation; to risk what is familiar and head out into the unknown, to trust that when you get to that place where your feet no longer touch the bottom, you will be held up and you will not perish. Is it worth the risk? Is it not a safer bet to stay with the familiar, with what you know?
“Do not deceive yourselves” says St. Paul
We bind ourselves with the wisdom of this world. Play it safe, don’t risk too much, watch out for yourself; these are the catchphrases of the wise in this world. But this is not heavenly wisdom. God’s plan for us is foolishness to this world but it is a plan which will bring us real life, real joy. Do not deceive yourself. Jesus is offering you an invitation which will take courage to answer but will lead us to fullness of life.
Do you live your life in fear of what the future might hold?
Dare to take a chance today and trust in God’s providence?