Nothing Spectacular Occurs in Shallow Water
I found some sermon notes taken from a sermon preached by Pastor Steve Davis at least ten years ago. In the sermon, Steve said, “Nothing spectacular occurs in shallow water.” Wow, what a statement! It’s true. You can walk around in shallow water. You can sit in shallow water and play. You can stand in the shallow water and fish (if you throw the line out far enough). But that’s about all you can do in shallow water.
There’s a lot more that you can do in deep water. You can swim out over the deep waters of a coral reef and snorkel. There you will see some of the most beautifully colorful creatures that God created. Or if you’re brave enough to scuba dive (which I am not!), I hear that you can explore the ocean and be both soothed and exhilarated by the sights you see.
In the deep water, you can swim, surf, ski, cruise, sail, and motor your way to freedom in and on the water. And in the deep water, you can be scared. Scared of the storm that comes up when you’re far from shore. Scared of the creatures that you can’t see that may be all around you. You could also drown in the deep water.
So here is the dilemma: Do you take a risk to enjoy the rewards of the deep water or do you stay in the shallow water of comfort and familiarity?
When our circumstances changed a little over two years ago, my family was thrown right out into deep water! Every instinct I had told me to start swimming hard for the shallow water. The shallow water means safety, comfort, ease, and familiarity. But nothing spectacular occurs in shallow water.
When Jesus came walking across the water (Matthew 14) to the disciples, He wasn’t walking across shallow water. While that still would have been miraculous, it certainly wouldn’t have been as spectacular. He came walking across the very deep water in the middle of a raging storm. And to make the miracle even more spectacular, He invited Peter to walk across the deep water in the middle of the storm to meet Him. Peter bravely walked across the water with His eyes on Jesus, but when he looked away from Jesus and focused on the storm, he started to sink. Jesus, of course, reached out and saved him.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened next. Did Jesus hold Peter’s hand until they reached the boat and got in? Or did Jesus pick Peter up in His arms and carry him to the boat? All we are told is that they climbed into the boat and the storm died down.
Here’s what this story teaches me: Jesus expects us to be out in the deep water, but He doesn’t expect us to be there alone. When we need Him, He comes to us. He takes our hand, helps us back into the boat, and quiets the storm. He doesn’t expect us to live our life out in the deep water, in the middle of the storm, all alone, with no help. He knows that we will live in a constant state of change, going from the shallow water to the deep water. Sometimes it’s calm, and sometimes it’s stormy. Sometimes it’s peaceful, and sometimes it’s chaos.
While the shallow waters of life are calmer, easier, and safer, it’s in the deep waters of life that we grow, mature, and transform more completely into the image of our Savior. Jesus must have enjoyed the deep water because He called Peter to come join Him. He’s calling us to do the same. Take a leap out into the deep because nothing spectacular occurs in shallow water.