My wife and I just saw the movie, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, which is more about romance than fly fishing- a disappointment for me. I did appreciate the line,“Fishing is faith” which I would break down into four stages.
The first stage is the hook-up. The first bump of the bait flares all the senses. Then the line pulls and the reel sings. That is the first part of the catch and the first part of a revelation from God. God begins to tug on our heart. We feel the pull from the invisible. It may be a word, a thought, or a supernatural touch, and suddenly we know we are on to something. We don’t know how to apply it to our life or what it means, but we know deep is calling unto deep and we are connected to the unseen. Often it comes in prayer and at times is just grows around us like morning. Sometimes it is a small almost imperceptible tug, and sometimes is a hard yank that reminds us that God is bigger than we thought.
The second stage is seeing it. One evening I was fishing with my son Christian on a small charter boat when I hooked something big. We had to follow it out to sea because it was stripping the line. The captain thought it was just a big shark and since it was getting dark, he wanted to cut the line and call it a day, but I pleaded with him to play the fish out. Finally after being dragged out a few miles and an hour later, the fish surfaced. It was a 150 lbs. granddaddy tarpon, a moss back. I have had many long hard pullers that got away without ever catching a glimpse of them. It was so important to see it and know what it was.
So, the first step is the pull from the invisible, but that is never enough. Once the fish yanks, we yearn to see it. It is not enough to feel it; we have to identify it. Our eyes strain against the reflections on the water to see the first blue or white flash. Then, suddenly, the fish comes into clear view and we always shout its name. Whether it is a king fish, a tuna, a shark, or a wahoo, just naming it give a sense of capture. We are Adam again naming the animals.
Nevertheless, seeing it only leads to a greater desire, the third stage, to boat it. We want to possess what we see. We want to touch it. When God begins to show me something new in my life, I am excited to see and proclaim it, but at the same time, all my energies begin to channel to see the vision realized. It may be a business, a foundation, or a project. Our visions, like salmon, swim against the current, until they become visible.
Now with the fish flopping in the boat, we celebrate but it still is not enough until the final stage is complete, a good picture. God has wired us to show and tell and take pictures. Even the pictures of cavemen are always about big catches. Imagine catching a huge fish yet never allowed to tell anyone. It remains an un-fished fish. One lazy afternoon I caught a big red drum off a dock in Marco Island, Fl. I took the fish over to bait shop to ask if it was legal and edible: I really took it there to show it off. A big red hair fellow said he wanted to take a picture of it and put it on his TV show, “Big Red Fishing Show”. I was thinking I had arrived-my picture on a fishing show. I was thrilled and hurried back to the dock to throw it back while still alive. A few minutes later I returned to the shop and Big Red asked me if he could get another shot of the fish. I told him I had released it and he said, “ Nuts, because I forgot to put film in the camera.” I had the hard pull, the first sight and the landing of the red fish, but not getting Big Red’s photo took the helium out of my happy balloon. Maybe my whole motive for this article is to tell you about the big 10 lbs. red drum I caught in Marco Island. Maybe it was 12 lbs. It wouldn’t even fit in a camera.
So, God made us braggers and we are at our best bragging on Him. First, we get hooked by the deep pull of His love, and then, secondly, we begin to see what He wants us to do. Thirdly, we give it all to see it a part of our life. And finally we must tell others what we caught, or rather, what caught us.
Have you ever felt you still must to do something big? It is like leaning over a boat and seeing a huge shadow and feeling a quiet thunder moving in your gut. Imagine pulling into light what you can only vaguely sense is there. That is fishing and that is faith in “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17).
– Andrew McMillan