Reflecting on this passage from Luke this week, I can't help but think of how often the Lord has worked miracles in my life. Sure, for many, these moments of God's grace won't seem as majestic as the great catch of fish depicted in Luke 5, but for me, at least, I know that his hand has been directing and leading me throughout my life. Growth in my own daily prayer life, including quiet contemplative prayer, has helped me to see and reflect on these moments. For at least half my life, I would not have recognized them. I would have, in various ways, been like Simon at the beginning of this passage, who says he hasn't even caught "a minnow." I would have, in no way, been able to state with any certainty God's presence or hand in my life, in any real or tangible way. However, at some point roughly sixteen years ago, through God's grace and my own willingness to open myself up to him, slowly I began to "let out my nets" to the presence of God. Now although there have been moments of great joy (and times on my knees) since then, I can honestly say that my view of God is much bigger than I had ever known or expected. And how great a God He is!
"Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon’s and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd. When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.” Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him."