‘Plunge beneath the waters' by Jude Gotrich
Like many children at camp, I learned how to swim and after we had mastered the basics we were brought to the deep end of the pool. We had been taught what we needed to know but those skills were of little use without jumping into the deep end and swimming in water over our heads. We were given what we needed to know. The water would do its job of being buoyant and I needed to trust that all these things would work according to plan. It was the going to the deeper part that made me unsure of the outcome. Frankly, it scared me.
Another picture of deep water is found in Luke 5 where Jesus has just been teaching to an enormous crowd and found it necessary to get into a boat and speak to the people from that vantage point. Once done with His teaching to the crowd, He talked more intimately with those in the boat and, as Jesus frequently did, He gave an object lesson with the immediate surroundings. He told Simon Peter to "put out into the deep water."
What is Jesus saying to Simon Peter? What exactly does it mean to ‘put out into the deep water?' I believe Jesus is asking for trust from Peter because He already knows the outcome of the deep.
What would it mean if Christ were to say to me "put out into the deep water, Jude." I believe He would be asking me to leave the shallow places in my life and explore the depths He has prepared for me. He says to me, "trust and see what happens."
Like Simon Peter, we are sometimes reluctant to leave the familiar and comfortable because that means things will change - and you know how we all feel about change? We say that we have tried to pray, tried to be like Christ, tried to live out a faith that would please God and come out empty every time. There is nothing out there in the depths for me.
But when the shallow places are behind us and we simply respond, "well Lord, if you say so," and we go into the deep waters it is then that we find abundance. We are called into the depths of our own life in Christ, into a deeper relationship with one who holds us up in the deep end.
So how do we dare go into the deep with a Holy God? He invites us through prayer and Jesus, again, articulates that intimacy, that depth, with His Holy Father.
Prayer communicates with the holiness of God and this might seem to be an unfathomable feat as we are unworthy, only striving to be holy vessels in His presence. Yet, He has made us for the purpose of this conversational relationship because He desires us to be intimate family members of His house. From the starting point of love, Jesus addresses intimacy within the first two words of the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father," and establishes the celestial DNA of God's family. Jesus teaches us to approach God as ‘Father.' In the Old Testament, God is not often spoken of as ‘Father': in fact, there are only 14 places where it occurs. God is the awesome Creator and there is little indication that the Israelites ever addressed Him as My Father. But Christ intentionally speaks to God as Father 170 times in the gospels. Only once did Christ relinquish such intimacy as "my Father" - when He cried from the cross, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Therefore, Jesus is clearly encouraging a relationship with a Holy God and at its deepest, most intimate level.
A great aid to this new depth of intimacy with God is by prayer and fasting. May 4-11 will launch a territory wide Prayer and Fasting Event called Into the Depths. We are calling the territory to Prayer and Fasting inside a week's time and we encourage you to sign up for a period of fasting on this website. With this intense prayer across the southland we will pull down spiritual strongholds as we prepare for the Holiness Congress - Going Deeper with God being held in Atlanta.
Christ says to you, "put out into the deep" and, as we fast and pray, we will catch His abundance, leaving shallowness behind and plunging ‘neath the waters that roll over you and me!