You know those fears that you hate to admit to but can’t seem to get past? Cool, me too.
One of the most annoying fears that I have is of fish. Although I can eat most of them with no problem, when I see a live one my toes curl into a ball and I start to do this awkward dance scream thing. I know, it’s weird. But there is a reason for this madness..
Four score and seven years ago, my family packed up shop and headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a good ol’ week-long family vacation. On this trip, my parents decided it would be fun to partake in a guided fishing tour on the Boundary Waters. Sweet! It would be just us, the open air, and some quality family bonding. How could this go wrong?
So we are heading down this river and I am just in awe; the scenery was beautiful, the water was calm, the birds were chirping, and I was borderline too small to paddle so the exhaustion was non-existent. I guess you could say things were going great but then it came time for fishing and oh yes, this is where it gets good because out of nowhere my father pulls this 10-foot long pike (or so it seemed) out of the water and plops its squirming body right below my feet. And don’t let my family fool you, this thing was NASTY. He was big. He was slimy. He had long dagger teeth; he was no friend.
It was just me, this fella and no space to move. So I did what any normal, relaxed person would do: freak the freak out. I screamed. I panicked. I almost tipped the entire canoe; I was the joke of the trip.
So you ask, why is she telling us this story?
Well, the other day I went fishing for the first time since that incident and it hit me, we do this every day, don’t we?
When life plops a big, slimy, scary thing right below our feet, we panic. We scream. We allow anxiety to rush through our blood; we overreact. And no matter how hard we try to tip the canoe or move that small or big fish, nothing works.
But everything was going so well? The scenery was beautiful. The sun was shining so high. I was secure in my little seat; how could this happen? What did I do to make this happen?
From one anxiety stricken friend to another, I completely understand. You didn’t mean to let things get out of control. You didn’t mean for the anxiety to creep in. You didn’t mean to overreact; it just happened.
And before you know it, this fish has doubled in size.
You are letting yourself believe that this fish is going to affect your self-worth, how people see you, how the rest of your life turns out, how your love life will look; it is the center of everything. But maybe, just maybe this fish wasn’t supposed to be bad?
Sweet friend, I want to let you in on a little secret: the changing of a current is not always succeeded by a storm. And if there is a storm, it is not without a rainbow at the end.
God’s job is results and His results are much better than we could ever imagine.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail or forsake you…” (1 Chronicles 29:16)
And there is nothing that you could have done to change this storm. No path you could have taken, no word you could have said, no movement you could have made; this is not about you. It is about Him.
Because the fish, the storm, the trial: it was never meant to be something that destroys you. It was never meant to grow bigger and bigger. It was never meant to eat you.
It was simply there so that you may grow in relationship with Christ because what brings us to Christ than a greater need for Him? An actual need.
You are not weak. You are not unlovable. You are not unworthy. You are a masterpiece. You are chosen. You are infinitely loved. You are a child of God.
So with whatever path the storm directs you towards or fish are thrown into your boat, trust the captain because you are not in control. He will never let you drown. He will never let the fish eat you (no matter how much you think it’s dagger teeth are pointing right at you) and He will certainly not let the waters overwhelm you.
“For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 13:10)
Have you asked God what His intentions are for the storm that you are in? Let Him whisper wisdom into your soul and truth into your heart because storms are not bad. Sometimes they are exactly what is needed for the grass to grow and you are no exception.
God is always in the works. God is always protecting, preparing, and teaching.
This storm, this fish, this trail: it is not what defines you and it is not what is going to end you.
God has not yet finished fishing.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5)