Wasteland Kings

“Hit it, hit it”

I feel heavy tension in my rod as I snap it up into the air. The fight begins as the fish starts pulling one way and the other with the intent of getting off my line. Again a smile spreads across my face as my entire world focuses down into just the battle in front of me.

This is the third and final day of fishing on the Bighorn River in Montana. This day stands out from the others though. On this day, I know the love of my Heavenly Father in my heart.

The first couple days of fishing didn’t go down in history for spectacular weather. I struggled on the first day to deal with the conditions and they made me go in early on the second. The third day on the other seemed like a whole new world and it brought a great deal of wonder and joy into my heart.

The sun shone brightly, it warmed up about ten to fifteen degrees from the previous days, and the wind all but disappeared. These better conditions opened me up to getting out of the boat in order to wade fishing for the first time. I was hesitant at first because I just wanted to stay warm, but I’m really glad I listened to my guide and gave it a shot.

Stepping out of the boat and into the water felt like stepping out from an office building into a wide open field.

Standing in the river transformed me from an observer of nature to a participant in it. My sense of wonder went into overdrive and I did my best to soak up the experience. It’s possible I would have been happy to cast all day out in the water and not catch a fish; that wasn’t the case though.

I had an incredible guide who took me to the best spots, taught me how to cast better, and showed me where to place my line. I caught my fill of fish well before we made it to lunch. Those fish were just the cherry on top because God really spoke through the experience.

Being shoulder to shoulder with a seasoned fisherman in the middle of a river and learning how to wade fish hit me deep in my heart. I miss out on learning from my dad and standing next to him as he watches me try something for the first time. I know in my head that God is my Heavenly Father and that He wants to help fill the hole in my life, but I don’t know that in my heart.

The overwhelming awesomeness of my experience on the river punched through the wall between my head and heart. Standing in water up to my chest and learning from a veteran fisherman was a personal and incredible expression of love from God. At that point, I felt certain God loved me like a father loves his son. This knowledge stands apart from knowing about God’s love.

I’ve read, learned, and talked about God’s love many times in my life and I would call those good experiences. On the rare occasion, I’ve felt God’s love seep through my heart and into my being. In those moments, God’s love saturates me and nothing else matters.

Those experiences teach me about the solid place I have in God’s heart. The only thing I value above that lesson is my salvation; everything else stands as a distant second.

Do you know that God loves you like a father loves their child? Are you certain that you have a place in God’s heart? Does anything stand in the way of that certainty?


Image Copyright: Public Domain

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My Montana Adventure
The Art of Need

Matthew Rial

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