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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Fishing (06/07/04)

TITLE: When Life Throws You Out of the Pond
By Glenn A. Hascall


“Daddy can I pinch the worm?” my nine-year-old daughter Alyssa asked as she rummaged through the Styrofoam carton looking for a night crawler.

“Are you sure you want to?” I asked in return.

“Sure!” Without hesitation she severed the squirming phylum Annelida. The look on her face told me that she wouldn‘t be asking again.

I lanced the worm with a number six hook and cast Alyssa’s line into the lake and then turned to Ryan’s Mickey Mouse pole and repeated the steps. This time I severed the worm.

Four-year-old Ryan thought that the fish needed a snack, so he found some old leaves, crumbled them up and scattered them on the shore line inviting inhabitants of the lake to come and dine.

I cast my line into the lake and then proceeded to remove two fine specimens of Blue Gill from Alyssa’s line, then one from Ryan’s. My line was placed in a new location and I extracted hooks from three more fish - none my own.

Ryan explored the shore line, leaving Mickey to fend for himself as he sat on a child size camping chair. That’s when I noticed a trout jumping into the air several feet from the shore. I marveled at the beauty and wondered why we couldn’t catch a beauty like that one. The trout jumped again. “Why, he’s just showing off,” I told my daughter. Then I noticed that Ryan’s pole moved quite a bit when the fish landed back in the water.

Ryan came over and began to reel in his trophy fish with all the enthusiasm of a garden slug. Oh, he was happy to have such a beautiful fish on the end of his line, but the work of reeling in the fish was putting a damper on the leafy fish feast he had been working on.

In all, my daughter walked away having wrangled six Blue Gill (all released to fight another day) and Ryan caught two Blue Gill and a beautiful Rainbow Trout (also sent back to their schools to help other’s learn from the wisdom of their experience). Oh, and me - well let’s just say I walked home with two beautiful children with a zest and zeal for life in all its abundance. It was enough.

Fish don’t do well outside the environment God created them to be in. They were made for water as they use their mouth, gills and fins to maneuver quickly through water. They can’t do that outside the water, in fact, if they are outside water for even a relatively short period of time, they tend to expire rather quickly.

Those with a personal relationship with Jesus can find themselves on a hook of sorts too. We can be functioning quite well in the environment and circumstances God has allowed for us and then we find ourselves pulled from our comfort zone by forces outside our control. Our responses become desperate and we struggle against all that is so unnatural - perhaps even painful.

Unexpected bills, the misbehavior of children, unexpected medical issues, job loss, the death of a family member, cancer - the list is long. We gasp and we clutch at anything that might help us through this change in circumstances. We have no clue why these things are happening to us. Life looks different from this new vantage point and we can’t seem to function very well.

However, we have something the fish don’t have - a promise. “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:10 - NLT)

If you find yourself in unfamiliar territory breath deeply, the world greatest Fisherman knows your needs and He’s with you - always! Perhaps there will come a time when you return to the environment you’re used to and when you do, you’ll have plenty to share with the ‘fish’ around you.

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 06/14/04
I loved your description of the fishing - Ryan sounds delightful, and just like an inhabitant of our house who also happens to be 4.

Only one thing :( - breath should be breathe - sorry buddy!

But, regardless (or should it be "irregardless :)as "Mangled English" describes) this is a great article!

Hey, I know it's regardless - just playing with woodnote, talitha, pgwhalen and others!
Glenn A. Hascall06/14/04
As far as Breath(e) is concerned - I repent in dust and ashes.

Now for my obligitory blessing: May you see past my mistakes and find something you can identify with in the story. :-) Glenn
Marie B. Corso06/15/04
Good "tale" with a great bite at the end. If you clean up the "breath" thing to submit elsewhere, look at that line and fix world to world's. I hope your "children" in the story have a copy.
Lynne Gaunt06/16/04
Glenn, this is a wonderful story. It reminds me of a fishing trip I took myself, I remember having to repeatedly pick up the spilled bait bucket while trying to keep lines untangled and hooks baited, and the kids' had a total lack of enthusiasm for actually catching fish. Loads of fun and great memories. Really thoughtful application too. I enjoyed this very much.
Sylvia Spielman06/16/04
Glenn, my attention was captured from the very beginning (title) and held through the end. I love the analogy and introducing it through a personal experience was the way to go. This is a great devotion and it really encouraged my heart. Blessings, Sylvia
Melanie Kerr 06/17/04
You reeled this particular "fish" in with you word. I liked the bit about fish needing to be in the right environment. Too often as Christians we try to live outside of Christ.
L.M. Lee06/18/04
very encouraging to hold on when things look dim.
Donna Smith06/18/04
Glenn, ya twisted the story on me-good job. I thought you were leading to a lesson about the dad not catching anything, loved the twist. Loved the line (total paraphrase) "go back and tell the other fish" A wonderful story how our life's circumstances are used for the encouragement of others, as well as our lesson.

Good lesson in humility too:)
Marcell Billinghurst06/20/04
A great story of a time to look back with happy memories of time spent with your family. Obviously you believe in catch and release, rather than catch and eat. A good lesson for your children in learning to let things go. Something we all should learn.
Write down your special memories for your children. God bless you with your writing.