So, I have this horrible problem of reliving past mistakes, I know I’m the only one in the world guilty of such habits so I won’t go into exhaustive detail about what and why. Suffice it to say that I don’t want to let myself off the hook, for any offense I’ve committed. I have this stupid lie that surfaces that says I must relive the pain, rethink the action, confess the sin over and over and over… well, you get picture. This morning was no different.
I woke up chastising myself, angry with myself, hurt again over what I had thought to be dealt with at the cross, but giving into the taunts of the evil one, I started to believe that I needed to submerge myself in the mire again, take back up the cross, the sin, the shame and become the sinner once more. Mercifully, Jesus met me, before light, before another tear could fall, or lie implant itself and offered a hand to take my pain, my sorrows, my regrets. He met me with one line – “Cast it to me.” I read more heart into that. “Leslie, throw it over here! Don’t gingerly lay it in my hands and walk away looking back, throw it long and high! Don’t place it gently down, show me that you mean it – mean it in your heart. Cast your cares, your worries, your fears, your anxiety to ME! Because you holding onto it only serves to do one thing, imprison you, and whether you want to admit it or not, your lack of faith is at root here.”
Wait. Hold up. Uh, say what?
Again, without any condemnation He repeated, “Your lack of faith.” Then, with wonder still in my heart, I heard Him say, “Cast it and I’ll catch you – hook, line, and sinker.” Okay, I’m human and a little dim witted at times, so I’m not too proud to admit that I had a spiritual “duhhh” moment. How did we go from casting my cares to fishing? The thought wouldn’t subside and in like thirty seconds I went through a mental concordance to gain understanding. Casting nets, fishers of men, cooking fish, Peter and the twelve, Judas, the betrayal… I was getting off the mark so God intervened in my spiritual ADD.
A picture surfaced. I was standing on the edge of the pond, my grandfather with a smile at my side. “Cast the line, Leslie.” I looked at him unsure. “Just raise the rod, push the button, and let the line go.” Believing his advice, and loving him so very much, I took his word…but being a fearful, insecure child, I pushed the button too soon and a yard of line came streaming out of the rod at my feet. Pouting, I placed it back in his expectant hand. After he fixed the mess, he handed it to me again. After about three such episodes, I got it right. I watched in amazement as the line arched high into the bright sky and landed ten or fifteen feet away. Smiling and satisfied, he settled his line close, but not too close, to mine.
In a matter of seconds I felt a small tug, eager and ready I snatched the rod up, and the line came whipping out, fishless. Frowning and disappointed, I handed the rod to my grandfather. He wouldn’t take it. “Cast it again.” It took another three tries but again the beautiful, freeing arch and gentle landing. This time he talked me through the initial nibble and told me to wait. Biting my lip in anticipation, I held through the initial nibbles until the line went tight, and then, looking to Papaw for permission and getting a smiling nod, I yanked. To my ultimate pleasure and delight there was weight on the line, there was definite, grunt requiring weight! I remember the thrill as I watched the most wonderful brim jump to the surface still caught tight by the hook! Clutching tightly to the rod and reeling with all of my might, my grandfather was laughing, directing me to slow down, and begging me to be careful.
After a squeamish unhooking and his beaming approval, I placed the fish in a styrofoam cooler. And there it was – my fish. Squatting by the side of that cooler I watched and marveled while Papaw continued to fish. Initially it lay limp, almost playing dead, but then it began to stir and swim, slowly at first and then more confidently. I was fascinated. I then noticed the hole in its lip. Cocking my head to the side, I realized I’d put it there. The fish soon to be released again was forever altered.
And that’s where my memory rested. “There.” Ahhh. My duh turned to an aha; I understood. “Cast it and be caught.” I am both the fisherman and the fish. What if I hadn’t persevered? What if I’d simply thrown that rod and reel with its pile of line down on the ground and given up. It would still be at my feet. Useless. But, instead, I listened, I trusted, and I cast with success a line that captured a gift. My fish. All because I casted. I get that. I’m slow but eventually I do surface. But what about the “be caught” part…what about me being the fish? Well, a fish that nibbles, isn’t altered. It’s a fish that is caught by the hook, pulling on the line and drowning the sinker, that is forever changed.
So, I’m casting my line…and I’ll return from the trip with a hole in my lip. Not what any one would call a fisherman’s dream, but it certainly has been a revelation from the pond.