Jesus began calling His Apostles by saying “unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4; emphasis added).
Simon answered: “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken” (Luke 5:5-9).
These verses inspire us as members of The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “to labor to serve one another” (Mosiah 2:18).
Fear Not the Deep
The deep end can be a scary place especially in a lake—anything could be lurking beneath! The lake where I swam as a youth had leeches. We were warned often about the leeches, so I knew there were dangers lurking in the deep. It is my tendency to avoid these dangers. However, the Lord wants us to go where He wants us to go, and it can be out into deep water.
Peter was not afraid to tell the Lord that they tried all night and had been unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Peter was willing to follow the Lord’s instructions. We can learn from Peter’s example.
How often in my life have I not wanted to try because I expect the same result? Isn’t the answer to #HearHim that we follow God’s instructions? When we do this, the result can be very different than we expect: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).
Involve Christ in Our Plans
I have often heard it said, when you do the same thing the same way you can expect the same result. This implies a new plan is needed for a different result. Perhaps it’s not a new plan that is required; rather it is the involvement of the Lord in our plans and the timing of our efforts to be the Lord’s timing. We can do the same thing with the Lord and miracles can occur in place of prior unfruitful effort. Peter, James, and John are an example of doing the same thing with the Lord’s guidance and timing and receiving a miracle of fishes rather than an empty net.
Have you ever been asked by the Lord to repeat an action that seemed unsuccessful? I have—many times. I ministered to one sister for several years. She was very pleasant and polite but also very busy. It was extremely difficult to make an appointment with her. I was turned away from her door more than a few times because the timing was inconvenient. I prayed fervently and kept returning to knock on her door. I delivered inspirational thoughts along with enticing treats. She remained pleasant and polite. I repeated the same actions again and again with the same result. I kept praying for this sister and her family and guidance about to how best minister to her.
After seven years, I heard a knock at my door and to my surprise it was this sister. We talked for a long time about the deep things. We have been talking deeply since that evening. I’m grateful for her presence as she continues to inspire and enrich my life. She has told me it was my persistence and timing that finally allowed her to enter the deep end.
I repeated the same efforts, and in due time a miracle was wrought. Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught, “The Lord performs miracles to remind us of His power, His love for us, His reach from the heavens to our mortal experience, and His desire to teach of that which is of most worth” (“Behold! I Am a God of Miracles,” Liahona, Apr. 2021, 111).
Scripture study is another example of repeating the same action until one day the Holy Ghost brings to your mind the very words that are beneficial to the moment. Christ has promised us, “For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say” (Doctrine and Covenants 100:6). I have had those moments where I have spoken and then wondered, “Where did those words come from?” But the miracle could not have happened without consistent feasting on the word of God.
I have seen this principle at work in family history research. I have searched for my maternal great grandfather in every record I can think of. I anxiously waited for the 1921 census to be released, confident that this record would be the one where I found him. It was not to be. Instead, I found my grandmother in an orphanage.
I have continued to search and have been led to pieces of information. I know he was a carpenter, the ship he sailed on from England to Canada, and the address he lived at when my grandmother was born. My prior experiences in the deep provide me with confidence that I need to keep searching. One day the miracle will occur, and I will find his birth information and his parents. Then like the net filled with fishes, my ancestors will be found family after family.
As members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, we need to launch out into the deep and help others on both sides of the veil. As President Russell M. Nelson has counseled: “My dear brothers and sisters, as you choose to let God prevail in your lives, you will experience for yourselves that our God is ‘a God of miracles’ (Mormon 9:11). As a people, we are His covenant children, and we will be called by His name” (“Let God Prevail,” Liahona, Nov. 2020, 95).