Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.
I remember summers at Gull Lake in northern Minnesota. Far removed from any city – only Brainard was nearby – there was no pollution, no noise, no hurry. The air was cooler up there, perhaps because of the breeze off the lake. Or the tall pine trees that shaded the grounds of the small cabin resort where my family stayed for one lazy week out of each year.
Whatever the reason, the time we spent up there was wonderful. For me, there are special memories. The whole family, including grandparents, cousins, and my aunt and uncle gathered for some quality time, a good share of the usual bickering among the children, and some of the best fishing I can remember.
I used to love to catch sunnies – tender, tasty little panfish. For a ten-year-old girl, it’s a fairly easy catch. Grandpa taught all of us grandkids how to fish. We’d all head to the dock with our poles and buckets of worms, ready to catch a great Northern Pike. But first, we had to learn to bait the hook. Grandpa’s number one rule was that if we were going to fish, we had to put the worm on the hook ourselves. My little cousin Heidi’s fishing career was over then and there. Those worms wiggled and squirmed, but we got them on the hook, and we even caught a few fish.
As much as I enjoyed that, my favorite memory is of me and Grandpa alone on the boat. Everyone else was playing on the shore where my mom, aunt and Grandma were sunbathing. Grandpa and I were way out in the middle of the lake, ready to catch that evening’s dinner. Shh, quiet. When a fish nibbled the bait off the hook and got away, I would re-bait and start again. I enjoyed having Grandpa all to myself, even it if meant baking in the hot sun, cutting my hands on the hook, or feeling the ache that comes from sitting in the boat too long. But all the while, Grandpa offered plenty of praise and encouragement.
The best part came when we arrived back at the dock. We’d hold up our net full of fish, proud that we had provided dinner for the entire family. But instead of heading to the kitchen with our load, we made our way down a path to the fish house. This was basically a screened-in hut with a single counter built for the sole purpose of scaling and fileting fish. This was the tough part, because it was rather a gross process. The counter was permanently stained with blood, and the single trashcan was usually half full of fish remains. And the smell . . . well, you can imagine. But then, that’s where my “suffering” ended.
Grandpa, however, set himself to the task of cleaning the fish. (I always thought this was an odd term for something that seemed so dirty.) He pulled out his knife and deftly sliced open each fish and cut it down to the tasty meat. In only a few moments, he had a pile of shiny white pieces ready to be battered and fried.
By the time I was seated at the table, listening to someone say the blessing, I no longer felt my sunburn, or felt the ache in my hands, or smelled the odor of the fish house. I only knew that dinner was going to be good. Corn on the cob and tomatoes grown in Grandpa’s garden, Mom’s homemade fries, and the center of the banquet, the sunny filets. What a feast!
God invites us to taste of His goodness. But we can only do that if we trust. Out in the middle of the lake, with mosquitoes humming around me, I had to trust that it would be worth the wait, worth the trouble. I didn’t make a conscious effort to trust in the outcome; I knew it by instinct, and by past experience. And I knew that Grandpa had something good planned for me. And I think it is the same with our heavenly Father. He has so many blessings waiting for us, if we will only trust Him. Sometimes we must endure the uncomfortable, or downright painful, things in life; and it takes all we have to trust in the outcome. But over time, with a lot of experience, trust may become our automatic response to tough times. And we will eventually know deep in our hearts what we have been learning all along – that the good things in life will come to us in time, and will appreciate them so much the more when we have had to work and wait.