(Jesus) said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:4-5
It has been said that there are no atheists in foxholes. When soldiers believe they might die imminently, prayers to a God they may not know are common. They’ll do anything for a sense of peace and protection in the face of an oncoming battle. So where is God when non-believers or lapsed believers or really good people unexposed to God begin to ask—desperately—for His intervention?
I can tell you where God is. I was one of these unexposed, uninformed, and unsure people who tried to be pretty good most of the time, but I just didn’t know God. When I was staring down the barrel of a gun, expecting my life to end, God was right there, responding in the millisecond it takes people like me to think, “Hey, maybe I should send out a quick prayer here…can’t hurt.” In fact, I believe in my heart of hearts that the Holy Spirit put the very words in my mouth which most likely saved my life.
“Foxhole religion” is trusting God to do the impossible. Consider Simon Peter, a simple fisherman who encountered Jesus when this itinerant Teacher requested to sit in Simon’s boat to speak to a growing crowd of followers. After He spoke, Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5: 4). Simon thought, “Who is this Guy who thinks He knows about fishing?” But out of respect for the Teacher, Simon did as he was told. The catch was immense, causing the nets to begin to break. Simon did not know who Christ was, but he obeyed and learned something special about the Man Who would change his life and countless others (including mine).
When a stranger sexually assaulted me at gunpoint and showed his intention to chain me to a tree in the forest, I cried out to a God I did not know. The man fled and I was spared an almost certain death.
Holy Spirit, we thank You for putting the words of life and salvation into our mouths even when we don’t know to ask. Amen