When the Fish quits struggling it is dead

(Editor's note: This is a previously published article. It relates to my Sunday column you can find here.)


I never really liked going fishing with my Mom. Oh, I loved the fellowship with her, but she caught all the fish while I trailed my hook in the water and fed bait to the fish. One clear day in June, she had talked me into going fishing (her job) feeding the fish (my job). We were trolling along her favorite spot on Lake Bruin and something grabbed my hook. I was so startled I nearly lost my fishing rod. I pulled back then let out the line a little. It was a very strong fish. It headed out in front of the boat then turned back and shot under the boat. That manuever broke the line. Mom, on the other hand, was not happy with whatever it was that had snatched that particular bait because it was her favorite--I had talked her out of it because I wanted to catch something this time, not just be a boat ornament.

Some fish get away, like that one, some get caught and wind up dinner. No matter if it is caught on a hook, a net or in a shark's belly, a fish will struggle for breath as long as it is alive. When it turns belly up in the fish tank, it's dead.

We live in a World of Struggle. Job found this out centuries before I was a twinkle in my daddy's eye. Suffering is part of Life! Three people mentioned yesterday their struggles and how hard it is to even get up in the morning much less drag through the day. I've lived that, as well...Too often to even contemplate.

Job didn't even know about the talk between God and Satan. He was just a God-lover and God-worshiper. He even sacrificed for his children just in case they accidentally sinned. Imagine that! Loving them so much he didn't want them to suffer separation from God. Loving God so much, he didn't want his children to have offended Him. How precious that is.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Let's be honest. Most of the time it is consequences of bad choices -- and yes, consequences of sin. But, what about those other times?

First of all -- 90% of what we dread and fear, never happens. Worrying is usually wasted energy.

Now, in the case of children, when they are good, they do not get a spanking but are rewarded with good things or at the very least, a calm and pleasant time with parents. It works for children. But (now here is the shocker) our goal is not absence of pain. If that were our goal, we'd hole up in a closet somewhere. That wasn't Job's goal either.

In his terrible grief, he blessed the name of the Lord. That made Satan angry. Job testified to one thing early on... God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD. There is so much packed into that one sentence. We have nothing without God. We can have nothing without God giving it to us. (Anyone who thinks they've gotten where they are today without the grace of God is a fool.) And sometimes it is because God trusts us that He allows tribulation as a testimony to those who come after us. I would suffer everything I've suffered all over again if it would keep one soul from Hell. I cannot contemplate how awful that place is.

Satan said the reason Job blessed God was because of that hedge of protection God had put around him. God knew that it was because Job loved Him above all else and that nothing could shake that love.

What then? Should we decide not to love God so much so that we can avoid pain? Poppycock! It is that very act of love that holds us together through the good and the valley of death. We fear no evil because God is with us. God provides the whole armor that protects against the firey darts of Satan. Jesus sealed Satan's demise the instant He rose from the dead. How can we not lean on that power that stilled the storm, settled the waves and stopped the wind? How can we not depend on the One that healed the sick and brokenhearted? Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word.

Sometimes we cannot see the ocean for the sea spray in our eyes. It is He that gives meaning to my life and purpose for my being. How precious to sit at His feet and adore Him. How much more precious to be trusted by Him. I would not know how wonderful heaven is without having something to compare it to, like my struggles, trials and tribulations here on earth. I would much rather be in Heaven with my Lord, but I do not want to miss one single lesson, or one bit of struggle that stretches my soul. It is the soul stretching experiences that make more room for God and less of me.
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