For his 5th birthday, my son Andrew got a new fishing pole and tackle box from Danny & the Sullins family. I’ve been meaning for some time to take him fishing, but I just hadn’t got “around to it” yet. (See Blog entitled “Don’t Procrastinate”) I wanted to do everything “legal” and go buy my fishing license, and I planned on doing all of this at the church campout last week, but things have just been WAY too busy. Finally on Monday I said, “that’s it we’re going fishing.” I got the fishing poles, loaded the tackle box, went to Wal-Mart and bought a fishing license, and bought us some worms. Actually they were Canadian night crawlers (sorry Kevin, that’s ALL they had--I begged the guy for Kansas Night crawlers, but he just stared at me like I was an idiot), but I figured they would work. Little did I know, I wouldn’t need the bait…
As we drove to the Lake, I told Erin that Andrew might be in for some disappointment. “I think he has the idea that you just cast the line out there and the fish start jumping on your hook,” I told her. Of course I knew better. I’ve fished my whole life (though not very much in recent years). My experience has been that it is not uncommon to go HOURS without catching anything, which can make fishing VERY boring, especially when you’re five years old.
We got to the lake and I rigged up his pole. Before handing it over to him I decided to cast it out (with no bait--just a bare hook) to make sure the pole was working right. My line was in the water for about 1 second and then it took off. I pulled and started reeling--a few seconds later I had a catfish in my hands. Savannah was giggling--Andrew was wide-eyed--Erin was surprised--I was stunned. Needless to say, Andrew may be “hooked” as a lifetime fisherman because of the excitement of that one moment. Now how did this happen? I have a few guesses. Either:
1. I snagged the fish. He was swimming along minding his own business and I hooked him.
2. OR--the fish was attracted to my shimmering hook. I find this one hard to believe, but this is Les Shaw’s theory.
3. OR--My hooks are made out of a special kind of exotic metal that attracts catfish.
4. OR--Danny put some “magic spit” on the hooks before he gave them to us.
5. OR--God let me catch that fish.
Some of those options can be eliminated pretty quickly. But I really like option number 5. Jesus kind of specialized in “miracles at the Lake.” You’ll remember that after fishing all night and catching nothing the disciples were directed by Jesus where to throw their nets. They caught so many fish their boat almost sank. (see Luke 5:1-11) Another time Jesus rebuked the wind during a storm and immediately the water became calm. “Who is this man that even the wind and sea obeys him?” asked the disciples. (see Mark 4:35-41) Is God sovereign over everything? Even the wind and the fish? There’s no question about that. But does God care about the little things in our life?
Erin told me later she had prayed we would catch a fish. Andrew had been practicing his casting in the back yard the night before and I was surprised at how quickly he got the hang of it. He was excited about the fishing trip…but I figured he was primed for disappointment. Yet, a praying Mother made a humble request to God...and in this case God granted it. He doesn’t always grant what we want. He knows what’s best. It could have been that God wanted us to teach Andrew a lesson about “disappointment.” Instead, on that day, we got to teach him about “answered prayer.”
Perhaps you’re thinking, “that’s a cute story, but God has more important things to worry about than a kid in Kansas catching a fish.” Need I remind you that Jesus said God had even “numbered the hairs on our head.” (Luke 12:7) He also said that even a sparrow’s death is known (and ordained) by God. (Matt. 10:29) HE is completely sovereign and able to handle every single moment--in every single part of the world--at exactly the same time. If he cares about sparrows and hairy heads…Doesn’t he also care about a 5-year-old’s fishing trip and a Mother’s tiny request for success? Of course He does.
I’m not saying we should be ridiculous in our prayers. Nor am I suggesting “name it and claim it.” Don’t pray for a million dollars to buy a mansion when you know others in your area are homeless. But I am asking, “What has God laid upon your heart to pray about…and to pray for?” God really is there and He really is listening. And if the prayer is one that He laid on your heart there is a good chance it will be answered. The question is, “Will you persevere in prayer?” (see Luke 18:1-8) God knows and cares about the little things in your life. He is in control of everything, and if you don’t see that--then you’re envisioning a God much, much smaller and weaker than HE ACTUALLY is.
We caught three more fish that day. One of the one’s I caught I had Andrew reel in…so officially it was his first catch. Erin & Savannah had gone to town to buy lunch and Andrew wanted to throw his fish back (he thinks that’s fun). But I insisted we keep him and “show Mommy.” When they got back, Erin was greeted by a dirty little boy with a Styrofoam cup half full of muddy water…and a tiny little perch swimming in it. Andrew was grinning ear to ear. He likes fishing. He REALLY likes fishing……I’m so glad he has a Mommy who prays…and is “naïve” enough to think (and smart enough to KNOW) that God really does care about the little things in life……..Until next time…