Faith and Fly Fishing

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…. – Psalm 23:6

Last week I went fly fishing on the Snake River outside of Jackson, Wyoming. I learned so much about fly fishing from our gracious guide, including the fact that many practitioners choose to use barbless hooks. I quickly learned that barbless hooks make fishing a whole lot more difficult. While I got lots of “bites”, in six hours of fishing I was only able to bring one trout onto the boat. All the other fish bit on the fly, but then shook the hook from their mouth.  So, why not use a barbed hook? To protect the fish. When barbless hooks are removed from a fish’s mouth it creates less damage so fewer fish die when released back into the river.

As I floated down the river I got to wondering how often I shake God’s hook from my mouth. God uses the barbless hook of goodness and unfailing love to draw us closer, to pull us into joyful and abundant life. But even after we bite on that hook by faith, we shake it off in stubborn rebellion. Failing to trust. Refusing to forgive. Unable to get beyond ourselves.

I left the river that day grateful for a great day of fishing, and even more grateful for the One who never stops casting.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN.

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