Thursday, February 23, 2012
The man went out to his favorite spot on the lake to fish, but the weather and time of day was not right for catching fish. He cast his line into the water a couple times without even the slightest bite.
Something was on his mind, and, knowing the conditions were awful for fishing, and being a religious man, he prayed to God for a sign. The sign he asked for was to catch a fish. He told God that it didn't matter how big it was, and it didn't matter if he caught any other fish while he was out that day.
The very next time he cast his line into the water, he got a bite, and quickly at that. At that moment, he knew that God had just answered his prayer, and a great happiness and peace came over him.
He reeled his catch in to find a rather meager looking bass. He tossed it back into the water, and kept on fishing for another couple hours. He never had another bite that entire time.
It's easy to scoff at such a "sign." It's just coincidence. It's certainly not a rigorous sign like we find Gideon requesting in Judges 6:36-40, where Gideon requests God to make dew to form on some wool fleece one night, and then asks God to make dew form on everything except the wool fleece the following night, just to be sure. But so what?
This gentleman had asked for this sign because he was concerned about his wife, who had recently passed away under distressed circumstances. This woman was the love of his life, and he just wanted a sign from God that she was OK in the afterlife. For him, this fish catch was that sign.
It is hard to justify challenging such a man's faith. Clearly, in this case, his faith that God provided a sign lifted a great burden from his heart.
Yet, at the same time, there comes the realization that the heavy burden this man carried in his heart was because of that religion. If there was no afterlife to worry about, then this man's heart would have been free from that addition burden beyond the tragic loss of his beloved wife.
Religion is messy. Be careful.