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Saturday, June 13, 2015

I Need Answers: Part II

As the sun turned the darkness into an array of increasing bright colors, I pulled my body free of the sleeping bag. I loved the sunrise at the lake as much as the sunset. My Griffon-Husky mix, Nahum, not being a morning dog, snored away just next to the tiny pup tent. Once again, he missed the gorgeous display of God’s celestial handiwork.

As I had the previous morning, I strolled the lake-shore, praying and singing. I needed God to speak to me about taking in kids—was He asking me to provide a safe home for them or not? Fasting meant that I could hit the shoreline at the break of day with no thoughts of preparing or cleaning up after meals to distract me.

The fishermen twenty yards from my tent had yet to stir by the time I ambled back to my campsite. Their rigs sat on a slightly elevated ridge, so their raucous late-night carrying's on had delayed my slumber. Looking over at their campsite, I asked God to help me focus so the visitors’ activities wouldn’t interfere with my study and prayer.

Later that morning, Nahum sat at my feet while I read my Bible. The sound of a young voice made me lift my head. “Hey, lady! I saw you and that dog of yours playing with a stick. What’s his name?”

“Howdy! His name is Nahum. Yeah, he loves fetching the stick. It looks like you’re going fishing,” I said, pointing to the toy rod and reel in his hand.

“You betcha I am! It’s my first time ever,” he said, holding up the new fishing rod. “My uncle bought this for me and said they’d bring me with them so I could try it out.”

“Looks like a nice one. How old are you?”

“I’m five. My uncle said that’s the perfect age to learn to fish.”

“I reckon it is,” I said to the bouncing lad, so excited he couldn’t stand still. Before either of us could speak again, the sound of a man’s voice calling filled the air.

“I gotta go, lady. That’s my uncle. It’s time to fish.”

“Hope you get a big one!” I called after the youngster though I doubted that he heard.

Soon, a tall man walked past my campsite, the eager young boy kicking up dirt as his short legs worked hard to keep up. He stretched his head back, waving his new toy rod at me with a man-sized grin.

“Now, the first thing about fishing is that you have to stop talking, Buddy. It’s important that we don’t scare away the fish. Once you get that line in the water, you can’t speak at all—not one word.”

“I know, Uncle; you keep telling me that, but what if I got a question?”

“You hear that, Nahum,” I said to my dog. “This little guy’s gonna have a hard time with that first rule about fishing.” Nahum barked. Agreement?

Once the seasoned fisherman and his rookie had left my line of sight, I took up my guitar. I enjoyed quietly strumming chords and jotting down words that came to mind. This one just might make a good praise chorus if I worked it up.

Late in the afternoon, the two returned from their adventure. The muscle-bound man the boy had called Uncle, carried a big Northern Pike in one hand while responding to the constant chatter of the youngster at his side.

Approaching my campsite, the uncle spoke, “Can you believe that? I’ve got this $300 rod and a $150 high-speed, thumb-action reel attached right there, but what do I catch? Nothing!”

“You mean you didn’t catch that monster of a Northern you’re holding?” I stared at the more than three-foot long fish as I spoke.

“I caught it! I caught that fish!” said the boy, jumping up and down, and swinging his little fishing pole in the air like a champion’s trophy. “I did it all myself.”

Raising my eyebrows, I looked at the uncle. “Yeah, he did. I stood by and grabbed the Pike at the last minute. The poor little guy was about to fall into the lake. That thing probably weighs near as much as he does. He can’t hold it up ‘cuz he’s not that much taller than the Northern Pike is.”

“And, he caught that fish with his toy fishing rod and reel?” I said, totally dumbfounded at the thought.

“$2.95 at K-Mart,” the uncle said. “That includes the reel, which is attached. “

“Hmm? Sounds like you got a real deal on the winning pole then,” I said laughing so hard that tears began to fall.

“C’mon, Uncle! We gotta show my fish to the others. Stop talkin’,” said the young champion, hopping and tugging at the shirt tales of the veteran fisherman.

Before long, the delightful scent of frying fish filled the air. The boy’s fish fed them all. Good thing, too, because he caught the only fish of the day.

Watching the sunset that evening, my thoughts turned to the wonderful day the young boy had just experienced. His joy began when his uncle bought him the fishing pole. Had he not followed-through to include the tiny boy in the men’s outing, it would have been just another toy in his room.

The desire to make a child feel that good about himself, and to have that kind of influence in his life, made my heart ache. I wanted to affect the lives of children in the same way.

“Oh Father God, will you bring those children who desperately need a home into my life, or should I be praying for someone else to receive them? Should I continue preparing for them?”

I began to feel anxiety take over, with disappointment sure to follow. Then, I thought about what I’d seen there on the lake that day.

Right after enjoying the delicious meal, the fisherman packed up and moved to another part of the lake. No doubt hoping to use that expensive equipment in a more fish-fertile spot. Did God have them camp near me to teach me a lesson?

I began to laugh. “I get it, Lord! I really do,” I said to the setting sun. “It didn’t matter that the uncle had the more expensive fishing equipment. You decided to make that little guy’s day; the plastic, toy rod and reel didn’t hinder you to work Your blessing for the boy.”

I thought about God calling that huge Northern Pike to come hook on to the youngster’s wiggling minnow. How in the world could the weight of that fish not break the thin fishing line, or snap the plastic rod in half? I had no doubt the one Who created that fish kept him hooked until the boy brought him in to shore. Nothing is impossible with God.

“If You want me to receive those children, there isn’t anything that can hinder You, God. They’ll come according to your time, and You’ll see that I’m ready. Are You asking me to receive the children or is it something of my own doing?” I said to the chilly darkness.

When I snuggled down into my sleeping bag that night, I found it hard to relax. I’d allowed three days of prayer and fasting. The next day the sun would dawn on Day Three. I’d had a terrific time studying the Bible, praying and singing, but would the Lord answer my questions or would I leave with the uncertainty with which I’d come?