Fathers, Fishing Lines, and Patience

We pulled up in a big pick up truck to the edge of Lake Lahottan. I had La Croix in one hand, and sunscreen in the other, determined that my first time fishing (that I’d remember) would be successful.

My dad and step mom got out of the truck, and we lugged our camp chairs and set up nicely amongst desert brush. The fish jumped out of the water, snacking on gnats, practically dancing before us. My dad set to work on lining the poles, and I productively munched on some Fritos while watching him.

He showed me how to cast the fishing line into the water, let me try, and the gave me another hook when I cast my line so hard the hook flew off (zoops). Again and again, I’d try to cast my line out, and try to reel in, tangling the line horribly. Again and again, my dad would walk over and fix my line, never saying a word or getting angry.

Finally, I had begun to get the hang of it. I was casting my line out each time farther and farther out, and I felt the glory of overcoming the stupid, easily tangled reel. The fish continued to jump out of the water, just within reach, but still far. I scanned the edge of the water, and thought that if I went round a little bit, I could reach the part they were jumping, what with my new found gifting in casting the line.

So on I went, farther round the lake until I would have to yell to my dad to get his attention. I maneuvered around brush and rock, doing my best to not get the line stuck before I could cast it out again. When I looked back out at the lake, I realized there was a lot of brush in this part, and would be very difficult to avoid. I went for it anyway.

You have probably already guessed what happened. My line got caught in the brush, and after yanking on it to no avail, the line got incredibly tangled around the reel. I soon realized that I was unable to get out of this situation on my own, and for the fiftieth time, yelled for my dad to come and save me. He came, cut me loose, and only chuckled at the fact that the bobber was now forever at home in the lake.

Eventually we loaded the truck back up, and I was glad to be away from the infuriating gnats and taunting fish that swam out of reach. We pulled out back onto the road, and I thought about my dad’s patience that day. He hardly got to have his own line in the water with having to rescue Princess Tanglereel all afternoon. Yet he remained kind, remained patient. He was just enjoying the time we were spending together, and it did not seem to bother him to help me at all.

It reminded me of how many times the Lord has been patient with me.

We get ourselves in a mess. We get all tangled, and suddenly, it’s so bad and we don’t even know what we did, let alone how to fix it. Then, when we finally call on the name of our Father, we’re disappointed in ourselves, ashamed that we couldn’t do it right on our own. No matter how many times we call, however, the Lord remains kind, remains patient. He enjoys being close to us, and He is our refuge, our strength. Even when we mess up, when we turn our tear-stained faces to Him, He responds with love.

God does not get frustrated and throw up His hands, angry that He must help us because we can’t do it on our own. We were created to need Him, in the good times, and in the bad times. He’s not surprised that we mess up. He loves to help us. We don’t have to feel afraid to call on His name. Scripture says over and over that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”.

I would love to be saved out of my mess. So I call on the name of the Lord; and in my weakness, I let Him be strong for me. I don’t have to have it all together. There’s no pretending that I’m perfect.

Allow Him to come in and be strong for you. Call on His name when you’re in your pit. When things feel hopelessly tangled, count on Him to come and set things right, to give you strength and courage. You’ll be ever so glad you did.

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