Recently I was doing some spring cleaning since the weather seemed to beckon for such and as I opened a bin of “stuff” I found some surprising things. Like a time capsule long since forgotten, among other things I found a cadre of playing cards from various destinations, I found a silver medal from a cruise shuffleboard tournament (oh yeah), my Red Cross first aid name badge and a fishing lure from a Christmas stocking years ago. I could tell a story about each of these items as it is typical that living scrapbooks are all around us, but what I was most thoughtful about was the fishing lure.
I never thought much about fishing until I started visiting a family cabin on a lake in Canada. Fresh fish is the best, be it walleye, Northern pike or bass and when you catch it yourself it tastes even better. Mostly I belong to the “catch and release” school of thought because the Canadian fishing license I purchase is always a conservation license with specific limits on the size and quantity of fish which can be kept. Too that end, fishing, for me, is more about being on the water than the pressure of catching. In the 18 years I’ve been “vacationing” in Canada, I really haven’t caught that many fish probably because I’m not very patient. As any wise fisherperson would tell you, it is essential to know when to fish and when to cut bait, when to put your nets in the water and when to pull nets back into the boat. All my life I had heard the phrase “fish or cut bait” and I never really knew what it meant until I started fishing. Of course the phrase holds more meaning when one is fishing with minnows or worms than a lure, however the point is that it is essential to be patient and trust that you are in the right place at the right time, and yet it is also important to trust one’s instincts and sometimes cutting the bait free from your line is the correct thing to do. It might be the case that your bait be it minnow or worm has, well, for lack of a better word, lost it’s zeal to attract fish (aka it’s on it’s last leg = which is funny because minnows and worms don’t have legs, or the case may be that the bait is nearly dead). If the bait isn’t doing it’s job then fishing is somewhat futile, you can be as patient as the day is long but sometimes you just need to let go and move on.
Of course there are other times when you need to just reel in your line and find another spot to fish because sometimes the water is too deep or too shallow or the weeds are too tall or the barometer is too high or too low. The point is that often there are so many mitigating factors that if any one variable is askew the conditions will not be right for fishing. I suspect we can never account for all the variables and that is why our discernment is even more important. During times of uncertainty it is essential to stop and center so as to listen to the still small voice for guidance. Sometimes the voice is saying, “Peter, come with us without delay,” or “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Or maybe the voice is saying it’s time to get up off the ground and move on down the road like Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus. Even though Saul/Paul had three days of blindness, while he was in prayer attending to how God would speak to him, he patiently waited, it’s a good reminder for us all I think. Sometimes we have to wait and listen for what is next, in fishing and in life.