March 9, 2011

A three hour drive west of Dallas is the Brazos river.

We left just before 7 am so that we could be on the river around 10:30 am. With gear packed my youngest son and two of my buddies were on our way …a quick stop at a Whataburger near Weatherford, Texas and we were good for the six hours of fishing that followed. Two reasons we were heading to the Brazos (the portion flowing from the bottom of Possum Kingdom Lake dam) was that my oldest son lives just an hour south was meeting us there and the river supports trout.

You know there is not much better in life than taking some time to fish with your boys and this day was no different. The sky was clear, the water was cold (good for trout) and the air was warm …all the signs of a potentially great day of fishing! It’s no secret that I love to fly-fish but I will be the first to admit it is a constant learning experience and I seemingly never get far beyond a novice. Truth be told, my boys (23 & 14) usually catch more than I do, no wonder they like to fish with me …they are both competitive! So catching more than dad builds confidence …it’s all good!

As a stream-inhabiting fish, trout really only have one choice about their position. They must face the oncoming current. If they turn their tail on the current for too long, the force of the water will flow backward through their gills and they will drown, and at the very least the trout will be swept downstream, meaning that they will have to once again make great effort to regain the distance lost.

It is without a doubt that Satan does what he can to get us to turn our lives downstream. In doing so, he forces us to live in our past, which in affect will rob us of the present and future. The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:13 “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.“ We cannot focus on what lies in the past or live downstream for very long, doing so will cause us to suffocate in our own lack of faith. Moving upstream means facing reality in the present as well as the future provision and care of a loving Father.

Trout have simple minds. But on days when you can’t catch a single one, even though they are all around you, it makes their brains seem quite complex! Fortunately for us we caught our fair share on this day! With books like “Orvis Guide to Reading Trout Streams” one thing that you learn is that depending on the stream and how mature the trout; they will learn to remain in narrow feeding lanes, no matter how many feeding opportunities they will not move from their lanes. As a matter of fact, they can exhibit an uncompromising “attitude” when it comes to this disciplined feeding. Why? Because if they were to feed on everything that comes within striking distance, darting off in the current grabbing every insect they saw, they could end up in serious trouble, expending too much energy, unable to continue upstream, ultimately resulting in death.

Similarly when I remain in my “narrow feeding lane,” choosing to focus on Christ, I will find healthy provision. There will always be distractions along the way, and honestly many of those distractions look really good! However, if we will remain in the center of our feeding lanes, we will not expend our lives on pursuits that will ultimately short-circuit our relationship with Him. Remember God’s words to Joshua: “Only be strong and courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).

May God help us to face the current with an uncompromising faith, and feed on the promises of His unfailing love.

– Article contributed by Tim Chastain, Director of Men’s Teams for the Master’s Men ministry.