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TITLE: The One That Got Away
By Sheila Bird

This story puts a different spin on the age old sport of fishing as it relates to the sweet song of salvation.
The One That God Away

There once was a fisherman who got up before dawn and packed his fishing gear in high hopes of catching the big one. He was prepared for the challenge like a pro. He invested time and money in all the finest equipment. He knew what it would take, where to go and how to get there. He was a master at his sport and proud of it. Before he even arrived on the waterfront with his boat, he mapped out a perfect spot to drop his anchor . He smiled with confidence as he got out his finest rod and reel and opened up the tackle box. In it was a vast collection of expensive lures in every size and color.

His technique was as meticulous as his preparation. First he observed the breeze on the water, the smell of the air, even the time of day and the position of the sun. He was prepared to fish from dawn to dusk if that is what it took to accomplish his goal. He was determined not to go home empty handed. He knew exactly where to find the most coveted catch of all. He moved cautiously about on the water so he wouldn’t startle his prey. He even wore camouflage so he would blend into the environment.

He cast out again and again until at last the big one took hold of the irresistible bate. The fisherman didn’t react immediately. He cut the fish some slack on the line so the fish could get a good long taste. The fish glided fearlessly through the water holding the lure in its mouth. Once the fish was convinced that the tasty bate was not a risk, he clamped down and swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. At that precise moment the fisherman tightened the line, gave a firm jerk and set the hook deep into the fish. When the fish realized that it had been snagged, it began to put up a fight for its life. The fisherman delighted in the sport of reeling the fish almost all the way in and then letting the line back out over and over again. This was the fisherman’s attempt to wear the fish completely out, until there was no strength left to fight, and nothing left to do but give up. Once this happened all the fisherman had to do was scoop the fish up with his net. Poor fish, never stood a chance.

The Bible talks about fishing a lot in the New Testament. Jesus himself even referred to his own disciples as fishers of men. He encouraged them to seek for lost souls the way a fisherman does for fish. And so we live by His example in our world today.

But did you ever stop to think that Satan, the enemy of our soul, is just as capable of fishing for men as we are? I imagine that he is cunning and relentless in his pursuit much like the fisherman in this story. He wants to catch you off guard with a temptation so sweet you can barely resist the thought of it. He knows where you hang out and what you do. He wants you bad. If you are a strong positive role model or leader in the Church he wants you even more. The bigger the catch the greater his victory or so he thinks. His ultimate goal is to reel you into his world of deception, filet you and have you for dinner.

Satan wants to destroy your influence. Each time he hooks you, even if you manage to get away chances are the experience will scar you in some way. He wants you to think that the damage to your life is irreparable. I have caught many a fish that had an old rusty hook still in its jaw from a battle with another fisherman. You may be like that fish. You may have out smarted the devil by throwing the hook or breaking the line a couple of times. But eventually if you continue to hang around in the wrong fishing holes you will get in a position you cannot get out of without a divine miracle. Soon you won’t be able to tell real food from the counterfeit lure the devil offers and trust will fade away. You will become vulnerable and make another poor choice. Then hopelessness will set in like a hook in your jaw and you will face impending spiritual death. Sin’s hook goes deep and its line creates a fierce stronghold.

If this sounds familiar to you, I offer you a different kind of line, it is a life line. If you are caught in a situation that looks like it will surely kill you and you think the hook is too deep and the pull is too strong…pray. Cry out to Jesus. All you have to do is breathe His name. Go ahead, whisper “Jesus”.

God understands the situation you are in and how you got there. You stand more than a chance with God. Cry out for deliverance and forgiveness. Express your desire to turn away from the circumstances you are trapped in and accept Jesus as your savior. He will step into the water, pick up that line that pulled you into sin and cut it with the sword of the Spirit. Then He will secure you with His life line, one paid for by Jesus Himself on the cross at Calvary.

Please allow yourself to be rescued. Listen carefully for that someone whom God has sent into your life with a message of hope. You can be set free. You may bear a scar from your battle but you can live a new life free of guilt and shame. An old rusty hook left behind is a small thing compared to the rusty spikes that Jesus took willingly for your sins.

There is an old song that comes to mind when I recall how Jesus rescued me. It was a song I used to hear on the Billy Graham crusades when I was young. It goes like this:

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling for you and for me
See on the portals He’s waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me

Come home, come home
ye who are weary come home
Earnestly tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling all oh sinner come home

Oh for the wonderful love He has promised
Promised for you and for me
Though we have sinned he has mercy and pardon
Pardon for you and for me

Come home, come home
Ye who are weary come home
Earnestly tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling all oh sinner come home.
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