After spending seven hours on the water, I have come to a new conclusion; I am an expert caster. I have perfected the overhead-knock-‘em-out-cast, the-side-armed-with-a-curve-cast, and the oops-I-didn’t-mean-to-throw-it-cast! For seven hours we cast our fishing poles into the shallow, salty water and for seven hours we did not get a bite. No fish. Just sunburn, achy arms, and hungry bellies.
It is like those seasons in our lives where it seems that everywhere we look, someone is pushing all of our buttons and we have to pray for an added measure of patience. Or when everything seems to be at a standstill and we feel like we are in Dr. Seuss’ Waiting Place, and the waiting will never end. Or maybe nothing is going right and we feel like we are professional firefighters, squirting water in every direction, trying to contain an uncontrollable blaze. It is during these seasons that we throw up our hands to the heavens and ask when enough will be enough.
In the frustration of the season, though, we don’t see what is down the road. We don’t see that all of the practice in the area of patience is going to help us control our tongue and attitude with an unruly child or family member. We don’t realize that this waiting game is actually building endurance so that we can give the extended time required to let wounds heal in an important relationship. We don’t understand that all of the practice putting out fires is exactly the practice we need until we watch other vital areas go up in smoke.
Yes, our patience gets tested and we get tired of waiting. When the fire is burning all around we wonder if we will ever find a way out; but our practice makes us ready for what is to come. In the midst of what could be a miserable trip, we have to stop and see that there is beauty and peace all around. Instead of throwing our hands up and wanting to quit, that is when we tap into that quiet resolve that penetrates through our circumstances and reminds us that we will make it through this tough season.
Practice your casting this week. You never know what lessons we will need to take from today to help us make it through tomorrow.