Simon Peter answered the Lord’s challenge to launch out into the deep with a logical statement: “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing” (Luke 5:5). I have preached and taught for many years that what Peter was saying was, “I don’t think this is going to work.” Have you ever realized God was leading you to do something, but you thought, “I don’t think I can do this”? I have often said that everything God has done in my life has surprised me. But, I have also learned that each time the Lord wants to accomplish something through our lives, we must submit in three important ways.
Reject Your Fear
I do not think it is wrong for us to have a thought like Simon: “I don’t see how this is going to work.” If we assumed we could do the work of God in our own power, we would be a colossal failure. Moses tried that, and it took forty years for him to come to the realization that he had to have the power and the presence of God to accomplish the great task of leading the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. However, it is wrong for us not to say with Simon, “Nevertheless, at Thy Word, I will let down the net.” In essence, he was saying; “I don’t understand it, but since You said to do it, I will obey.” Our responsibility is not to understand everything God tells us to do, but to simply obey what He says.
Rest in Faith
Throughout my life as a Christian, I have experienced the grace and miracles of God. Going to Japan as a missionary with only five hundred dollars of monthly support required a lot of faith. Learning the Japanese language seemed, at first, an impossible task. The first time I saw a Japanese Bible, I was shocked. Nothing in it resembled a word. It looked to me like chickens had been in a muddy field and had walked all over the papers in the book. I thought, “Lord, I am from Kentucky. We have a hard time with English. How could I ever learn a language like Japanese?”
But, faith did not end when I learned the Japanese language. I could not have started a church after only one year on the mission field in Japan—God had to do that. When I served as director of Baptist International Missions, Inc. and when I came to teach at West Coast Baptist College, I needed the Lord to guide me in each of those decisions. None of them seemed at the time like the next logical step of my life. Yet, each of the previous examples is a testimony to the direction and guidance of God.
When I look back on my life, I am thrilled to see the times I did not refuse to obey God, even when I did not understand Him.
Rejoice in God’s Favor
After Simon obeyed, he had the joy of seeing a great catch of fish. And when I have submitted to God’s leading, I have been privileged to see Him do some unbelievable things. God honors faith. How is God speaking to your heart? What has He called you to do? Does it seem like an impossible task? Then, it probably is impossible…without God. But, the Bible reminds us that, “With God, all things are possible.” By faith, let us launch out. When we do, we will see the mighty hand of God working in and through us, and we will be able to give all the glory and honor back to Him.
There are over seven billion people on Earth. Two-thirds of them have never had a clear presentation of the gospel. I trust this will be the year when thousands of people heed the call of God to go to the unreached people of the world. Would it not be wonderful if every Christian would be a good steward of the materialistic blessing of God? What if every Christian were willing to spend his life telling others how to be saved? We could evangelize the entire world in our generation. But, this would require that we, like Simon, launch out. Could I challenge you to launch out in witnessing, giving, and praying for world evangelization?
Whether you are staring at a Japanese Bible in complete confusion or looking out over the Sea of Galilee wondering where all the fish went, God is in control. His commands and directives may not make sense to us—then again, it is only He who holds tomorrow. Launch out by faith today, then wait and see what tomorrow will bring.