i felt like i was going to fall out of the canoe while this guy was reeled in (hence, the crooked picture!)
Last week Michael and I had the opportunity to go fishing with a friend of ours. We are so fortunate to have friends that treat us like family and invite us into their homes and "homes away from home", so that we can share wonderful experiences with them.
This fishing trip was no exception. We had a great time fishing from our friend's canoe, relaxing in the water, and sharing some great conversation. Even though the fish weren't really biting (I caught one though!) it was a beautiful day out on the lake.
At one point, we were anchored out by some buoys watching the sun disappear behind the pines, and we saw a huge bird take off from the tree tops off to our right. We all watched it quietly--hoping it was what we thought it was, but not wanting to get our hopes up--and lo and behold, our dreams came true. It was a beautiful bald eagle.
The bird was gorgeous! It took off so close to our canoe and then sailed low, right over our heads. The entire fishing trip was worth it just because of that eagle.
Usually, Michael and I throw back all the fish we catch, but this time we all decided to keep the two we caught that day and see how they tasted. To be completely honest, I felt a little badly not throwing mine back. I know, I know, I'm such a softy!
The entire trip just felt like it was so full with God's presence. I mean, from the gorgeous weather to the beautiful bald eagle, to the fact that we were going to share food that we had all worked together to catch. The whole time I was reminded of John 21:3-7:
"I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
I mean, that is just a wonderful and amazing story. Jesus visits his heartbroken friends and blesses them extravagantly, like he so loves to bless us. And they are so beyond overjoyed to see him, they dive into the water to reach him at the shore. I love that story so much.He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”“No,” they answered.He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
I feel like so often we see the true nature of Jesus in simple experiences like this. A loving and compassionate Abba. I feel like there are times in a person's life where we feel like God must be angry with us. There are others who go their entire lives thinking they serve an angry God. With stories like the one above, how can we think that for long?
No, we didn't catch a boatload of fish that day and it would be so easy to fall into anger and disappointment and miss the beauty of Christ. How many times have I passed a moment where he was showing me his love? How many times have I missed the extravagant way he loves to bless me? I want to live fully in those moments!
He blessed us that day and he blessed us extravagantly. The beauty and serenity we witnessed that day is not something we see on a daily basis and it is a wonderful respite when we get to witness those moments.