Sunday, August 13, 2006

Batter and Fry, A Story About God’s Provision

It is too hot to do just about anything outside right now except fish. I have wanted to get in some Biblical recreation (Hey, the disciples were fishermen, right?) for a while now and the lovely and talented Mrs. had been craving fried catfish so this met a couple of legitimate needs. Plus Mother In Law had a new pond we needed to try out so we turned it into a family thing.
The trip was just a few hours worth of fishing squeezed into a trip to East Texas for the funeral of my great uncle. I also had a business meeting scheduled so this fishing was going to be just a few hours one morning.
We cleaned eighteen catfish when we were done. The fish were biting so we pushed our travel time a little close. After cleaning fish I had to shower and get to the bank in time for the meeting. Ever had that experience of feeling like you know something about yourself but you are not able to know whether others know it? I knew my hands still smelled like fish but I wasn’t sure whether people at the bank knew I smelled like fish.
If they knew they did not say anything. After the meeting we were off to the funeral home. Shower and bank meeting aside I still smelled like fish but I am related to these people so they will have to take me like I am. Besides, I think my Uncle Lee Roy probably got a heavenly chuckle about me showing up at his visitation with the fragrant aroma of “Eau de Catfish” about me.
The next day was my Uncle’s funeral and because of our travel arrangements the catfish had to be left at Mother In Law’s. I had a root of bitterness over this. I helped catch it, I helped clean it, now I was not going to get to eat it. In the words of Dolly Parton, “Poor, poor, pitiful me!” For an alleged Man of God I was surprised I was able to nurse that grudge a couple of entire days, mad at no one but at everyone at the same time. I sounded like Job. God has done some wonderful spiritual things this week but I was still focused on my great loss. I missed my fish!
Finally I put my whining aside. The things of God are certainly more important than a mess of catfish anyway. That’s when the lord provided in a most unexpected way. Right out of the blue, well, God’s blue anyway, one of our church friends called and asked a funny question of my wife, “Ya’ll don’t like catfish do you?” Hello, does a one legged duck swim in circles!? The next question was even better, “Would it be alright if we stopped by in a few minutes and brought you some catfish?” If my sweet wife had answered anything other than the positive, Dear Friends, there would have been a rumble in the back pasture. And we don’t even have a back pasture!
I am thankful that I was able to put my sulking little self aside just in time for the Father to deliver a nice little surprise. I am also thankful for a Brother in Christ, Wallace Johnson, for being used by God, not just as a long time Texas Baptist Men’s Builder but also as a fisher and deliverer of fish. It was a great way for the Lord to remind this repentant Preacher that the Father really is the Provider of all. Plus, He not only owns the cattle on a thousand hills He also owns the catfish in a thousand ponds!