The fish were nibbling at our bait as we stood in the Gulf. Almost every morning at dawn you could find my son and me standing knee deep in the surf, holding our rods quietly. In our shirt pockets–yes, alive and wiggly–were extra minnows. My son had developed a great throw with the heavily-weighted circular minnow net, and we would stop at one of the small pools where the little fish gathered, and I would watch, enthralled, while he did the intricate toss that resulted in our bait for the morning! Now we stood, hoping some hungry Redfish or maybe a Black Drum would decide to grab our hook. We lived on the Gulf, and it was a quiet time we both enjoyed.
Our favorite hours, though, were when we could work in an occasional trip to the long fishing pier that was an hour away. The wooden pier seemed to stretch a mile out into the ocean, and we would always go with high hopes. The fish were plentiful but the probability of getting one up onto the pier–or close enough to scoop into the net–was slim. The big ones had gotten large by being smart! They wrapped around the pilings and we would generally lose “hook, line, and sinker,” as well as the fish!
My husband knew our son loved to fish, and promised to take him to Canada for salmon fishing when he was twelve. Twelve came and went, and no trip was made. Over the next few years it became obvious that this promise was not going to be fulfilled. As my husband said, “There are some promises which are made, but shouldn’t have been.”
Our son could have turned his back on his father, as that trip was something he had looked forward to for a very long time, but he didn’t. He came to realize that life does not always contain victories, and all too often things we hope for, plan for, or try to accomplish are a disappointment. You probably know people who have had one too many let-downs, and have given up on someone they love. Or perhaps someone has hurt them once too often, and they’ve erased the name from their list of trustworthy friends.
Have you ever thought about the night before Jesus was crucified? He was eating with His twelve closest friends–although Judas was not a friend, and you have to accept that His brothers were not there either. These men had watched Him perform miracle after miracle, and had every hope of Jesus doing some amazing action that would end the tyranny of Rome over Israel. They must have felt as though everything they had envisioned was about to become a shipwreck. In a way, it’s no wonder that a few hours from that time the disciples fled. They were confused, bewildered, and possibly even angry. Peter definitely so, as he became abusive in his denial when he cursed the girl who said he had been with Jesus.
If you had been in the room with Him, having all your hopes pinned to a good ending, would you have given up after He was buried the next evening? In a way, perhaps that is what you have done now. Perhaps life has handed you some pretty rotten fruit, and you feel you didn’t deserve it–and you know that Jesus could have prevented it from happening. Have you given up on Him?
Hopefully you are like my son, who trusted his dad even when a broken promise that meant so much was not carried through. Hopefully you have the kind of trust in Christ that can say, “I’m at a loss to explain why so much bad is happening, but I know this: He is my father, and He loves me. If this is going on, it is because His purposes are far greater than I can understand.” You see, we want to know the “whys.” We want to know what He’s thinking, and doing, and why He chooses us for the trials. We want life to be pretty perfect. And it isn’t.
Don’t give up on Him because things haven’t gone your way. Because, one day, when you look back at the long path you’ve traveled, you’ll see that He did not leave you for a moment. Even when you were rebellious, away from Him, and living in sin, He still loved you–and always will.
These last three weeks have been a journey that could so easily have ended in death, if you read the last post. My head is beginning to spin a little less frequently, and clearer thoughts are coming. But I never once walked through these days alone, nor did I ask Him why He allowed me to fall. You know why? Because I trust Him–that’s why.
Lord, thank You for loving me, especially when I’m so unlovely. Forgive me for failing You, for failing to keep promises of being the type person I should be. Thank You for never giving up on me, for carrying me when I can’t walk, and being faithful. Thank You for the scars in Your hands, Jesus–they mean You took my place in death. Amen