fishing boat

 Fishing Boats and Trusting God

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

A few years back, I had just gotten a new boat in which to fish. And I really didn’t know much about boats or fishing from a boat. I mean virtually nothing. So a friend of mine invited me to go out fishing with his friend, Art. I accepted the invite, knowing this would be a great opportunity to learn about boating and fishing.

The appointed time to meet was [5:30] AM. When I arrived at the dock to meet Art and Mike, the wind was blowing pretty hard. The lake we were going out on was big and wide, which meant the waves would be high.

Art was a fisherman and guide by trade, so the wind didn’t bother him. But it sure bothered me. In the boat, we went and as soon as got in, I put on my life jacket! Once we got out of the harbor, the waves really picked up. The boat would rise up and then crash down, splashing all of us in the boat.

I noticed Art was unconcerned but kept making small adjustments to the steering wheel. I went up front to ask him how things were going. His answer, as typical of a native Mainer, was fine.

After a few minutes, I asked him if the lake was rough. Again he answered with one word, yes.

So I finally asked the question I silently had been wondering; are we okay out here?

This time I got more than a one-word answer; Yes, I am steering into each wave, I have slowed the boat and put the prop way down.

So there it was three simple clues as to why the boat remained steady on course. Sure we were going up and down with water spray hitting us. But he was right we were fine.

For the new boater like myself, he gave three clues about why everything was fine.

First, he steered into the waves, hitting each one head-on, which prevented the boat from rocking side to side and potentially getting swamped.

Secondly, he slowed the boat down, which made the back of the boat lower in the water and the front higher, helping the boat make its way over the top of the waves.

Finally, by putting the prop way down, it also forced the boat to be higher in the oncoming waves, adding more stability.

Three simple things that changed a rough boating trip into a sure and safe way to get to a protected harbor to fish.

As a side note, I like fishing, but I don’t like to catch fish. Rather, I enjoy the early morning birds, coffee and being with friends on a lake. My goal isn’t to catch fish, but to enjoy everything else that is associated with fishing.

This experience reminded me of God’s conversation with Joshua before he crossed over to the promised land. God promised Joshua everything that he had promised Moses. But added in the requirements, to be strong and courageous. And to remember God would be with him wherever he went.

Moses has spent the previous forty years wandering with the Israelites in the desert. But the people had not been strong and courageous. In response, God prevented most of the Israelites from entering the promised land.

Despite all Moses had done, he was not allowed to enter the promised land and died on a mountain overlooking the place God was sending him. Now Moses did receive his heavenly reward, but not his earthly reward. In fact, only a few who started on the journey to escape the Pharaoh forty years earlier made it into the promised land. It was their descendants who got to enter.

Along the way, the Israelites had complained mightily and were fearful. Despite everything God had shown them, they never crossed over from being afraid to courageous. They had let fear prevent them from having a good life in the promised land. They chose fear and not God.

Joshua had remained steady in his faith and had stayed courageous. And he was now the hand-picked leader to take the remnants and descendants of the original group into the promised land.

Before Joshua left to enter the promised land, God said;  Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. A reminder that when you walk with God, all your trust should be placed in God. To not let your fears swamp your belief and trust in God.

Sure enough, when they did cross over to the promised land, they were met with seemingly overwhelming situations at every turn. Each time God told them what to do to survive. And each time they did. They were strong and courageous.

Now I am not saying that Art, the boat owner was God, but as I watched him gracefully move the boat through seemingly impossible waves, I gained courage. Eventually, able to relax and finish my coffee.

We did arrive at a protected harbor. The trees blocked the wind and the waves died off. Art took us to the mouth of a river, where the fish entered and departed. Art and Mike caught fish, I did not. Instead, I saw a blue heron gracefully lift up out of the water. Caught a glimpse of hawks circling to find food. Mostly I enjoyed being with two skilled fishermen from Maine.

Especially in this difficult time, we should also remember who is guiding our boat, God! We may not always know why things will work out, but we should always be brave and courageous. This is what God asks of us and to follow his ways.

Our human fears will prevent us from having the life God wants for us. Causing us to be tepid in our steps and never able to fully cross over to God’s plan for our lives.

We will make it to the promised land of our lives and get through the Coronavirus, all we have to do is keep the bow of our boat pointed into the waves, slow down, put the prop down; and most importantly trust God.

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Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Juan Gomez on Unsplash

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