It was a beautiful morning. Sunny. Cool. I recalled my son’s request to go fishing at a certain location that we had been to last fall and decided to wake him up early and go.
It was incredibly peaceful by the water. He tried several different locations. There were snags… and frustration. His line got tangled in bushes a few times when he tried to move to a different spot. More frustration. No bites on his line despite sightings of fish. Hard for a young fisherman.
But in all of this, God spoke to my heart.
There was frustration this morning. There was trial and error, unexpected snags and difficulties. But is this not just like life? Here we were, surrounded by the most beautiful morning, sun in the sky, breeze in my hair, chirping birds, singing frogs and the occasional turtle poking its head out of the water to observe the scene. My son was getting caught up in the frustration of the difficulties that he was experiencing. And he was forgetting to look up, forgetting that he was surrounded by the most beautiful gifts of God – His own creation.
We have trials and tribulations, frustrations and disappointments. But… is there not joy in the journey? Is there not a beautiful bigger picture? We can sometimes become more focussed on the snag in our line, the unexpected tangles that we encounter or the lack of reaching our goal. How often do we allow our disappointment (not one bite!), or the snags (frustrating!) or the messy tangles of situations (bushes, reeds, trees!) have more of our focus? We react in anger, sometimes even blaming God for our lack of success, or for the circumstances that seem to keep us from our destiny.
In all this, has God changed his nature? Is He not the same yesterday, today and tomorrow? Sometimes we allow our thoughts to wander into the “God is not blessing me!” camp when things do not go our way. Is that what trials and challenges really mean? Are they not instead, meant to teach us something? God is interested in growing us into people who look like Jesus. Perhaps the snags and frustrations that are part of life are meant to teach us patience and perseverance.
If we can lift our head from our circumstances to look around, see the beauty, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the morning sun… we feel God’s absolute pleasure, and we know his Presence and His peace, despite everything else.