Launch Out Into the Deep

Twenty three years ago I heard something that would forever change the course of my life. Standing with my wife in a crowded sanctuary, as the room was filled with the sounds of worship, I distinctly heard in my mind, “Your time at your job is coming to an end…Evangel College.”  As I pondered the sudden interruption of these unsettling words, I leaned over to my wife and told her I needed to tell her something…odd. The worship soon ended and the pastor stepped directly to the pulpit and said, “Some of you have just heard something very specific. The Lord wants me to tell you that is from Him and you are not to doubt it.” Now God clearly had my attention.

As a 28 year old young man, life and it’s busyness was really starting to crank up.  I was newly married with a six month old baby. I was putting in long hours at work and my wife and I were busy  leading a group of young marrieds at our church. The company I worked for wanted me to advance in the corporate ranks and was pressuring me to take steps in that direction. The only problem was, I was not satisfied. I was diligently asking God what He wanted of my life but I was not fully prepared for the answer I would receive…”Launch out into the deep.”

Unless you are a fisherman or spend a lot of time out on the sea or ocean, you probably aren’t familiar with the feelings associated with being out on water with no land in sight. I love watching the TV show, “The Deadliest Catch”. It follows the lives of crab fisherman trying to catch Alaskan King Crab on the Bering Sea – one of the most dangerous bodies of water on earth. It is “white knuckle” viewing as these men risk their lives in the volatile, frigid deep, miles and miles from safe harbor. These men know the intense vulnerability of being at the mercy of a merciless sea.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6 NIV

I don’t know what it is like to risk life and limb on the fierce turbulence of the Bering Sea, but 23 years ago, I began to understand what it means to follow the Lord into a place of apparent uncertainty as I quit my secure job, packed up my wife and son and moved to another state to finish my degree. Though I did not know how everything would work out, and at times more scared than excited, I was not at the mercy of a merciless world. My family and I were secure in the hands of a loving Creator, who had plans for us to impact His world for His name.

Since that season long ago, I feel as if my home is out on the “deep waters”. We have been called to plant a college ministry on a secular university campus, pastor at a large church, pursue and complete graduate school, serve as a high school Principal, speak as a guest at churches and events, teach at college, etc., etc. We have been challenged time and again to “trust in the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding…” (Proverbs 3:5). Through it all, we have discovered that there is really no better place to be than in a state of constant dependency on the One who never fails. The reality is we are always dependent on Him, some just don’t acknowledge or realize it.

So today, if you hear his whisper, “Launch out into the deep”, follow Him. You will certainly feel a bit unsettled, possibly frightened…that is okay…it is most likely an indication you are hearing His call. It is in that place that He leads you that you will find everything that you never knew you needed but always wanted…you will find Him.