So I’ve been in Ft. Pierce the past few days; naturally I had to go fishing today. Despite what you may have heard, I am the worst fisherman you know. I mean, if I believed in luck, I’d say all the Irish in my blood floats away from me the moment I get a rod and reel in my hands. I think I’m averaging about one fish a year. And that’s not an exaggeration. (And one of those fish I didn’t even hook; I just reeled it in and took the credit.)
I wish I were one of those people that could say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter if I catch anything. It’s just about being out there and being with nature.” But I’m not. I get annoyed. I get mad at the fish. “You stupid fish! Bite the lure! You’re not better than me, fish!” And of course there’s always some 10-year-old who’s catching sharks and whales like twenty yards down from me. And while I’m not catching fish, I just get to thinking about things and analyzing my situations. And thus, here I am with another journal entry.
I think life is a lot like fishing. It seems like we cast a lot. Always casting. Throwing it out there. Trying. Sometimes it works. The fish bite. People like you. You reel in a big one. Things work out pretty well, and it’s enjoyable. But a lot of the times you just cast. No one bites. You try a different spot; try something new. No bites. Apparently, even the fish don’t want to be around you, and they’re fish. And then you start to rethink mama’s words of wisdom, “Oh, there’s plenty of fish in the sea, Sweetie.”
But we cast on. Waiting. Praying. Just thinking maybe this will be the cast that works. Praying that if God really loves you, you’ll get something on this cast.
And then… suddenly. What’s that?! A tug. A nibble. You feel the rod shake a little. Finally! You start to reel in quickly. This must be a big one! Look at the rod bending! Alright… wait. It’s stuck on a stupid rock.
Once again, it’s disappointment, a moment of hope and excitement, only to be let down again. And it kind of feels worse because you got your hopes up. But maybe that’s life—a lot of casting, and a lot of reeling in seaweed.
When the fish aren’t biting, there’s nothing you can do about it. There is nothing in your tackle box that can make a fish want to bite. And if you’re like me, that is the most frustrating thing in the world. Being helpless to change a situation. And no amount of casts, tries, or even prayers can change it.
Sometimes we just cast.
If we’re real with ourselves, I’m sure we can look back on many times in our lives where the fish weren’t biting, and there was nothing you could do about it. Prayers didn’t change it. Your tears didn’t change it. And of course, your heartfelt words might as well have not even been spoken.
Sometimes the fish aren’t biting.
Sometimes we just cast.
But you know what I started realizing on each cast? I was getting better. Each cast was going farther. In fact, I almost caught a bird. And I would have, too, but I didn’t want to deal with a bird on a hook.
And maybe the Master of the waters knows something we don’t about these fish. It’s hard to see when you’re just standing there feeling like an idiot with a stick and a hook, but maybe there is something going on below the water that we can’t see.
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, and that is alright.
I’m not much of a baker either, but I do know a few things about cakes. When you’re making a cake from scratch you have to crack the eggs, put in the flour, pour in the oil and the water, add something else I probably don’t know about, and then mix it. Mix it all in. Keep mixing. Then pour it in the pan. But then, you put it in the oven and leave it.
There is nothing more you can do now. It’s the oven’s turn to do something you cannot. You must let it bake.
You must let it go, and let it bake.
In some situations, I believe there comes a time in our process when we must give it over to God, stop working and wrestling with it, and let it bake. It’s a time that the Lord will release you to let it go, and there’s nothing more you need to do but wait. Wait while He does something you cannot do. Let it bake.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Never stop praying. Never stop casting. But we must remember that God is continually teaching us, and that He loves us very much. If you are doing what you can do, He will do what you are not able to do. And if the fish aren’t biting, maybe He knows something you don’t. I think Jesus knows a thing or two about fishing (check out John 21.)
Sometimes we can’t make the fish bite or the cake bake, but at some point the fish have got to eat, and at some point you’ll be eating some pretty good cake.