This week I’ve had the chance to fish for the first time in over five years (I don't fish in Taiwan; rather, I prefer skin-diving, as the waters there are like being inside a tropical salt water aquarium). Last night, while fishing from the Oregon Inlet Bridge in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I hooked what felt like a very big one that pulled out on my drag for 5 or 10 seconds before breaking the line (and it was a fish and not just a skate!).
The near-desperate feeling of futility that came over me as another high tide was about to come and go without any catches resulted in some enjoyable back-and-forth banter with the Lord: “Lord, remember when you told the disciples where to throw down their nets? Remember how you arranged such an overwhelming catch for them? How about doing it for me just this once, Lord? And I don’t even have nets; all I care about is one fish.” Let's be honest: have any of you ever prayed a prayer like that?
Then of course I thanked Him because my relationship with Him was so much more important than catching that elusive big one, because He is the Maker of the sky, the sea, and the seabirds and fish and all else that fill them. And how I do not want my prayers to simply be attempts to manipulate Him, use Him, etc. like the prayers offered to gods overseas where I live often are....
耶和華啊！你是創造天地的主宰。我要讚美你。因為你曾經所說的：「水要滋長生物；地上和天空之中，要有雀鳥飛翔！」，跟我在海邊所經歷到的一模一樣。我自然而然肅然起敬。因為一草一木都是因為你而存在的。「耶和華啊！不要把榮耀歸給我們，不要歸給我們；要因你的慈愛和信實把榮耀歸在你的名下。」（詩115：1） Nevertheless I would have been happy had He chosen to answer the prayer! :-)
Along these lines, this morning while reading an online A.W. Tozer RSS feed, I read the following very appropriate thought: “Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. God will not be one of many treasures. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in selfish striving after personal gain. If we love God as much as we should, surely we cannot dream of a loved object beyond Him which He might help us to obtain!”
By the way, I did land a very modest 14 inch bluefish before calling it quits last night.