Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Power Of Rejection

I had been in the water for two days, wading, casting, changing flies in an attempt to capture some of the elusive rainbows and browns that inhabit the quality waters of the San Juan river in Northwestern New Mexico. Kevin and Russell invited me into the drift boat, which elevated me to a place where I could see the huge fish in the water. At first, it felt like I was cheating. I wasn't just looking at the ripples and fins of the fish as they rose. I was watching them as they stalked bugs in the foam line. It was not cheating. These fish are smart and picky. They have seen thousands of fishermen, and thousands of artificial flies. Time after time they would look at my fly. Time after time they would reject it. Then, I made the cast that offered the fly in a way that intrigued a 19 1/4 inch rainbow. He rose, took the fly, and I set the hook. It was wonderful. Dozens of rejections. . . one acceptance. That process was repeated over and over; dozens of casts, dozens of rejections, one take. That once catch motivated me to keep trying, in spite of the rejection.

The last day of the trip, I had fallen in the 42 degree water a good bit made its way into my waders, chilling me to the bone. I left the river to warm up and was going to just watch others fish until the van came to pick us up, when I saw the fish rising again. I had to tie on one more fly, and make one more cast. I paid off again. A bent-jawed 18 1/2 inch rainbow took the fly and I was thrilled again.

Life is so similar to fishing. Many give up. They stop sharing the gospel, stop serving people, stop applying for colleges and jobs. For others, the hope and expectation of the catch inspires them to continue. Yet, even the most positive can become discouraged. Christ offers more than the possibility of catch. He offers the promise of eternal life, and so we live life with hope. We live it, not just hoping that we will see the lives of those we serve change, but hoping and believing that He is faithful and will reward us for our faithfulness. Even if our lives seem to be producing little, trusting in Him and obeying Him will always produce great reward.