Posted by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker text© 2011 on Apr 29th, 2009
Hello again dear friends of the Fellowship of the Blog,
I’ve gone fishing! I never thought I’d say those words again, after my misadventures in trout fishing. But today, I’m bobbing about in my blog-boat on the Internet Ocean, fishing for Jesus.
Have you ever noticed how many times in Scripture we find Jesus walking by the seashore, teaching by the seashore, and blessing the multitudes who came to Him by the Galilee seashore. So many times Jesus and the sea are pictured together that He could be called the “Seashore Savior.” And, again, it is Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee where He calls His first disciples (two fishermen) Peter and Andrew, to “…Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.“ In a great step of faith, the two fishermen left the source of their living immediately. But how do you catch men, and where is the sea for such a specialty?
Such questions are asked in this rhyme from the Christian Mother Goose Rock-A-Bye Bible:
In the waters of the five great oceans of the world, the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic (Southern), there are marvels of God’s magnificent, creative artistry that leave us cheering in praise and awe of such an Almighty Creator. From oyster pearls to playful dolphins, colorful coral reefs, gargantuan Galapagos turtles and giant whales, there’s no end to the fascinating creatures who live in the sea.
Yet, there is another sea that Jesus looked out upon: the great Sea of Humanity – filled with a treasure so dear to the heart of God, that when it was lost in the deep ocean of sin’s dark waters, the Son of God Himself came to save that treasure and bring it safely back to Heaven’s shores. It is to this Sea of Humanity that Jesus called Peter and Andrew to “go fishing!” But it takes God’s own fishing gear to catch the heart of men, women, boys and girls. Psalm 18:16 says: “He drew me out of many waters.“ Jeremiah 31:3 tells us how: “…”Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.“ God’s fishing line is His love: strong, unbreakable, everlasting, and from an endless reel which is cast into our troubled waters from the Hand of Jesus. He guarantees He will bring us safely to shore.
That fishing line of God’s love reached a long way to bring me to the shores of America, where Jesus gently drew me in, then even let me go fishing with Him for more treasured souls.
Commercial fishing was big business in the seaport city of Liverpool, England, where I grew up. So it would seem I might have tried my hand at least once at the noble skill of fishing. Not at all – that sport awaited my married life in America, years later. But gathering cockles and mussels along the River Mersey seashore always made for fun, frolic and a good batch of shellfish to take home.
Still, living in a seaport, I grew up on a fish-laden diet, with a menu of everything from plaice, cod, fluke, kippers (herring) and salmon, to fish-and-chips and soft-bellied bloaters! (The last one may sound horrible, but being soft-bellied meant it was also called the “poor man’s caviar,” from the abundant roe it contained.)
Sunday morning’s fish was always an unnamed salt fish, with the tail portion being the most choice. That serving was designated by my mother as indisputably, and without question, my father’s, and it was heavily guarded by her to make sure of its delivery to Dad’s plate. However, that never stopped me from asking for the tail, in endless hope, as I grew up. It was not until my Dad passed away – suddenly, and I made the trip home, that the weekend I arrived from Colorado, and came downstairs Sunday morning – that I saw the symbol of honor had passed to my plate – the salt fish tail! It was a touching, bittersweet moment, eased by my mother’s smile remembering all my childhood pleadings for what I really knew was my Dad’s own privileged portion.
So, it remained for my Colorado husband, Dale, to attempt to teach his city-born wife the perplexing pleasures of fishing in the “trout-filled” streams of the Rockies. Beware of that term “trout-filled,” for if those streams were filled when we got there, they were still filled when we left!
Our meager catch never even made a dent in their elusive numbers. But Dale went on happily tying his own fishing flies, full of Galilean-style miracle fishing dreams, every time we went out to those trout-filled streams. The scenery near the Black Canyon was gorgeous and, since our lines usually lay un-nibbled by the fish, we could bask in the sunshine while pondering the mysterious virtues of having the patience of Job that fishing required.
In all my fishing days I caught only two fish, neither of which were reeled in by “traditional” methods. The first time Dale took me fishing he coached me in the fine art of “casting.” I leaned back and threw out my line with all 108 pounds of my British might behind it. My attempt was wobbly, so Dale shook his head and said: “No, sweetheart, not that way, try again.” I reeled my line back in, and presto! – a rainbow trout was dangling on the end! We laughed so hard we must have scared the rest of the fish. The quote, “God can bless a blunder, but He can’t bless nothing!” fit that occasion perfectly.
With all due respect to Dale’s colorful, hand-tied fishing flies, the other fish I caught came from doing a typical womanly thing. I snipped off a small piece of bright red corduroy from the inside of my jacket, and replaced Dale’s fly, just to see if it would fool the fish I’d been watching all afternoon. In a flash, he took the useless bait and became my fish number two.
For just a split second, I smiled and let myself wonder if it was really a small bite of red apple that Eve gave Adam. I gave no answer when Dale asked, “What’s the funny smile for?”
Finally, to cast a net ’round my fishing stories, just this week, after all these years, I was given a fishing confession by Kevin, corroborated by Keith and Bradley (their Dad, who is now in Heaven, will have to sort things out up there). On a 3-day fishing trip to the Grand Mesa, my dear husband and three brave sons produced nothing but three nibbles! Meanwhile, I was eagerly waiting at home to admire and cook their bountiful catch. Upon their return, yes, I did admire and cook their lovely rainbow trout, never knowing they had just removed the price tag from the local fish market’s purchase before they came triumphantly through the door – what fibbers they were!
I think I should write a blog on “forgiveness!” Do you agree?
May The Lord Jesus find many “fishers of men” in the good readers of The Fellowship of the Blog.
Good fishing and Cheerio!
Christian Mother Goose®
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