I took a picture this past weekend that has been speaking to me ever since.
What I didn’t capture was the entire length of this scene and how it progressed. The black clouds loomed over us verbalizing such threats making us stay under shelter. But this guy, he was calm and cool about it all. No life jacket on, just a fishing pole and a troller to take him wherever he wanted to go. He made his way into our cove and circled through it while the wind was whipping all around. He knew something we didn’t and it was fascinating to watch.
You see, the storm was threatening, but it didn’t come far enough north to directly hit us. We got a lot of whitecaps from the wind and heard a lot of thunder, but the black skies focused to our south. We could see the torrential downpours across the lake, but it stayed away from us. At least it did on this particular occasion.
There is a storm around us brewing. It has been for a very long time but today it seems to be more threatening than ever. We don’t know when it will hit us, as it has hit other communities already and we can see the threatening clouds looming. What are we going to do while we wait for this storm to hit?
In case you don’t know the signs of the storm, I can help you with that. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 says: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
I know I’ve brought this one up before, but it bears repeating. This is how the majority of people behave these days and this is the sign of the storm. We no longer value one another as individuals. We no longer respect one another. We refuse to allow any other person to be right unless they are in complete agreement with us. How can that be righteous? It will end up coming to a head and the chaos that’s threatening will come upon us quickly. Throwing whatever illusions we may have had of world peace straight out the window.
Our duty is to recognize the storm coming and go fishing. Sounds crazy, I know, but this is what’s been nagging at me all weekend. There are people around us who are lost, who feel hopeless and who don’t know who God is. They don’t know what it feels like to have peace in the middle of a storm that’s wreaking havoc all around us. They will never know unless we introduce them to the love of God. The only way we can do that is to behave the exact opposite of those people Paul described to Timothy.
For those of us who are shy at first, we need to smile more at everyone around us. When is the last time someone smiled at you and you gave them a scowl in return? My guess is never. The next step is to compliment someone. Anyone who isn’t in your inner circle of friends. Anyone who may have the misconception that they are inferior to others. Make a habit of doing these two things every day.
Meanwhile, take more time to study God’s Word. Allow God to speak to you and penetrate your heart. Allow Him to correct you and guide you towards the repentance you didn’t realize you needed. Build that relationship with Him so that you can go out and light up the sky against those dark clouds of the storm that continue to threaten. Your light will hold the storm at bay while God protects you to do your fishing.
Tell whoever you meet how you have changed since you have started building your relationship with God. When they look at you with disbelief, make them understand what kind of person you used to be so they can appreciate how God has changed you. Help them understand that even the smallest infraction is considered detrimental in God’s eyes. Sin is sin and there are no exceptions, but forgiveness is free once we accept our need for it. This is how we fish, live by example and shine God’s light on all those people around us. Some will love us for it, most will reject it and us. Be prepared to weather the storm in peace and confidence just like the fellow in his boat. He may have kept his eyes on the storm periodically, but he never quit fishing.