Did you fish as a kid? I did. I went fishing with my dad and he taught me how to cast the line out over the seaweed against the shore, away from the hanging branches from the tree, out to the deep where the fish would bite. I learned to cast pretty well, but sometimes I got my line hung up and Dad had to help me – and sometimes even cut my line – and start all over. If he hadn’t been there to help, I would have remained stuck!
I was stuck recently, in my prayer life. I would sit down to pray and my mind would fill up with all the people I knew that had suffered loss or were ill. I begged and cried and pleaded with God to help and help them, and then I prayed that he would help me with my fears as I worried about them…and my own family and concerns! It was like that fishing line, I was all caught up and tangled, and wasn’t reeling in any answers…or peace.
I began to realize that the problem was in my cast. There’s this verse that tells us to cast all our cares over on Him, because He cares for us. However, as I was casting them, I was also carrying them. This does NOT make for a peaceful life. I was taking on their pain as if it were my own. In other words, when I heard about a friend losing her husband, I grieved so much that I was angry with God for taking him. When I heard about a little girl with an illness, I was so hurt and thought it wasn’t fair, and worried and wondered if we’re all sitting ducks for disease and death. I was carrying everyone else’s burdens plus my own, and after I prayed I was tired and frustrated.
In casting a fishing line, there’s this learning process that has to take place, the bait has to be hooked just right, and the reeling in has to be slow and easy. Fishing is not a fast process, and if we think it is, we will be bored and go home. It’s supposed to be one of the most peaceful sports to enjoy that there is. There might be hours without a bite, but the anticipation is always there.
I felt like God told me I had the cast all wrong. When I cast my fears and friends and even foes over on Him, I’m supposed to sit by the banks and wait, while HE sends the provision to each of them in his own time. My job is to cast in prayer, reel in slowly with faith, and sit in rest under the shade tree by the water. I have TROUBLE doing this!
However, I’ve begun envisioning the cast a little differently now and I realized one huge thing: I’m not meant or made to carry their load, and they’re not meant to carry mine…except to Him in prayer. In other words, I cannot and wasn’t made to carry the weight of sorrow that others feel in my heart until it weighs be down. I’m to cast and release.
I’m learning that the only way to do that is to wrap my petitions in thanksgiving, visualize the cast, and see in my mind’s eye that shade tree with an empty chair waiting for me to rest.
I don’t want to stay stuck in the branches or seaweed, while there’s provision that awaits us all – out there in the deep. I want to be ready, praying and believing, resting and reassuring, so that when the big fish bites, the baskets are full, and the feast is prepared, I’m there with those that are hungry like me…with more than enough for all.
Worried and fretting when you pray? Join me today in learning to cast a little bit better and wait a little bit longer without fear or dread…