Summary: Luke 5:4-6 1. Simon and his comfort zone 2. Fear barrier 3. Prayer with someone else 4. Detach and accept the calling Conclusion – Acceptance of the unknown-through faith in Christ
Introduction: (Read Luke 5:4-6)
In 2005, I was deployed to Taji, Iraq. I was a platoon sergeant at that time, and we had only been in theater roughly two weeks. Our arrival led the insurgency to be hot and heavy during those early weeks. Insurgents knew that we had not yet fully set up our fighting positions; therefore, we were vulnerable and easy targets for them.
One early morning, around 01:00 am, Private Gonzalez and I were walking back from the guard towers after my health and welfare checks of the troops when mortar shells started raining down (known as red rain) on our Forward Operating Base (FOB). Quickly, Gonzalez and I took cover next to a berm in an attempt to avoid any shrapnel in our vicinity. As we lay flat on the dirt, we could feel the impact of the mortars hitting the ground as the shockwaves travelled through our bodies. We were scared. As we lay there, I knew that I had to get myself and Gonzalez into shelter if we wanted to increase our chances of survival. I was terrified, but I managed to gather my thoughts together and to analyze my situational awareness. I needed to calm my body down and to talk myself into bravery.
The mortars were coming in roughly 45 seconds apart, so I told Gonzalez that when the next mortar was heard, we would race to a building about 300 yards from our location. Private Gonzalez did not want to do it. He was too scared. For the time being, the berm gave him a sense, though a false sense, of safety and security. To be honest, I didn’t want to move, either, but I knew that if only one shell landed on our side of the berm, we would be killed. I had to convince Gonzalez to break away from his comfort zone and the false security of the berm, to take a leap of faith. Doing so was the only means of survival.
Through the grace of God, we made it safely to the building and took up fighting positions in case of a breech in the first security line. Several hours later, the attacks stopped, and a green light came over my radio. As we began to make the damage assessment reports, we came to a crater in the ground, next to a small, supply trailer splattered with shrapnel. As I began assessing the damage to the parked trailer, Gonzalez called me to look toward him. He pointed to our initial secured position at the berm, no more than 20 feet from where this mortar shell had exploded.
Looking back at that situation, I knew that God had saved us. God Himself had called us to move from the berm, our comfort zone, our place of supposed safety. He gave us the courage to get up and move. There is no way possible I could have mustered that amount of courage on my own, for I was terrified for myself and Private Gonzalez.
The Bible is full of motivation, pushing for us to get out of our comfort and safety zone. Jesus taught Simon to step out of that zone. We see this in Luke 5:4-6 for, after stepping into Simon’s boat and addressing the crowd, Jesus asks Simon to pull out to the deep water, away from the shore, and begin to fish. Simon begins to make excuses, answering that they had worked hard and had not caught anything. But, he gives in by, basically, saying, “If you insist.” When he pulled out to the deep and cast his nets to the sides of the boat, the blessings began to come, filling the nets. The blessings were so abundant that help was needed. Indeed, the nets were breaking, and the boat began to sink.
Simon was a fisherman, so we have to assume that he knew what he was doing. Many times, we think we know what is best for us. We build this knowledge by setting patterns, patterns that keep us comfortable. We build comfort in tangible things, such as money, food, clothing, education, family, and friends. These things give us a sense of safety.
When Jesus called on the first disciples, He was asking them to leave everything behind, everything that had made them who they were up to that specific moment. Do you ever wonder if they pondered first whether or not to take the leap that bound them in Christ, the leap away from their comfort zone?
When Private Gonzalez and I took shelter next to the berm, I pondered whether or not we should move. I had received a vast amount of training in warfare, but, when it came time to trust my training, I froze. I had nothing left. The berm was my safety. Yet, just like the disciples who took a leap of faith to trust Christ, I took a leap of faith in my training. It was only through the grace of God, however, that we survived that day.