Guest Post By Todd Davis
Have you ever been crappie fishing and everyone but you is catching fish? Several years ago, my dad Fred Sr., my brother Fred Jr., and I took off on one of our nightly crappie fishing adventures. Navigating through the fallen trees and swollen water of Lightning Creek, we came to a bend that was 30 feet wide and twelve foot deep of murky, brushy, crappie heaven! Once we tied off, we would throw our lines toward the south bank knowing we were only a few seconds from tearing into schools of crappie. True to form, the crappie came fast and furious. Fred Jr. and I were catching crappie every 5 seconds. It was unbelievable.
Glancing over at my dad, I noticed he was yet to catch crappie. Not even getting a bite was bizarre, as he was using the same rig that Fred Jr. and I were. He was using the same bait; his line was in the water only three feet from ours, his bait was the same depth, he even had the same bobber. The only difference was Dad was not catching anything, nada, zip! Fred Jr. and I were hauling them as fast as our bait hit the water!
At one point we swapped pole’s, but still, Dad could not get a bite. I guess it’s hard to believe if you were not there, but it was the funniest thing ever. Of course, Fred Jr. and I laid it on thick: “What’s wrong Dad, you don’t like crappie?”, “Since Dad won’t be tired he can clean our fish!” or “Man Fred Jr.…we should have brought the kids!” At first, Dad took the ribbing okay, but once he realized his luck was not changing, he was ready to go home. At one point, Freddie was reeling in yet another crappie and jokingly asked Dad to get the net. Instead, Dad grabbed an oar and started beating the fish off Freddie Jr.’s line. At that point, my brother and I fell back laughing! It was all good, and we soon left with a live well full of crappie. To this day, every time we talk fishing that fishing trip comes up.
Have you ever felt like my dad? Maybe spiritually you seem to be doing what everyone else is doing, but their life seems blessed, and your life seems a mess? You and your family go to church when the doors are open, you never miss a morning devotion, you teach Sunday school, you tithe your ten percent, and still, things just don’t go right. It can be frustrating; you may even want to smack something with an oar.
This feeling of injustice must have been how Job felt. He was doing everything right. He was the wealthiest cattleman in the entire area. He threw lavish birthday parties for his family. Even God said he was the finest man in all the earth, a good man who fears God. He was doing what he was supposed to and receiving all the blessings a man can enjoy.
In the blink of an eye, his stock is stolen, farm hands murdered, and even much of his family killed. Soon his health fell apart, and now he is inflicted with boils. Friends start showing up to help him find out where he went wrong. They couldn’t help but think there must be some sin in Job’s life for these terrible things happen. Job had to wonder if there really was sin in his life. Was he praying enough, was he offering proper sacrifices, was his worship not heard? Anyone would have asked these questions. Anyone would have compared themselves to others. Geez, I am using the same bait as my sons, why am I not catching fish? Or in Job’s case, if I am as righteous and God-fearing as anyone else, why am I the one suffering?
Even though friends gave him terrible advice, Job refused to sin and stayed faithful. He knew right from wrong and did not let his circumstances overcome his love of God. Job knew his prior blessings came from God, so he refused to limit his love for his Father to the earthly possessions he enjoyed before. In the end, God rewarded his faith with twice as many blessings as he had before.
Maybe you are sitting in the boat watching everyone else catch fish; maybe you work as hard as anyone else, only to watch them get the promotions. Maybe you are faithful, but see everyone else get the blessings you want. Maybe, just maybe, like Job, God wants to see how far your faith will go. Stretching you, teaching you, and challenging you to stay the course, even when life isn’t fair. Maybe, just maybe, God has twice as much in store for you than you ever imagined!