PASTOR'S PEN: Looking U.P.

This past week I took a few days off to head to the U.P. on a fishing trip with three other men. Last year I went and the fishing was phenomenal, catching our limit just about every day. This year, however, would prove to be quite the opposite. We had it all planned out about a month earlier. The desire was to go on Memorial Weekend, but with so much going on that weekend it was decided that we should head up for the UP’s opening of walleye season. We arrived on Wednesday to be able to start right off Thursday morning. With hopes high we launched our boats prepared to fill them with walleye. Alas, that would not come to be. At the end of the day both boats ended up with a combined amount of three fish, none of which were keepers and none of which were walleye. That same trend would continue for two more days. The end count came to one keeper walleye and a perch – hardly enough for a one person fish fry. It was quite disheartening.

It’s easy to look at those results and all that time fishing and become aggravated or depressed, but there was much more to be thankful for than there really was to complain about.

1. We were able to take time off of work.

2. We got to spend time with some men that love the Lord.

3. We saw much of God’s creation including going through a wildlife refuge, a huge group of sucker fish, cranes and loons.

4. We had plenty to eat … PLENTY! We probably gained weight on this trip, even without fish.

5. It was very relaxing with some great nights of sleep not thinking of all the jobs to be completed.

There are many more notes of thanksgiving I could list, but I think you get the point. Everyone has times that don’t go as planned. Think of David running from Saul, yet he seemed to always come back to praising God. Or Paul, who during one of the most difficult times in his life, wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” And later in that same book writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…”(Philippians 4:4, 12)

In between those two verses Paul talks about something we must consider – God. How could Paul rejoice in prison or be content when hungry? It was his focus. He “sent his requests to God” and thought about “whatever is excellent or praiseworthy."  Paul’s thoughts were focused on God, what God desired and what honored God. His life was all about God.

As has been said by many, “It’s not simply the destination, but the journey."   Are you complaining like the Israelites in the desert or are you enjoying the journey, looking up at all God has done and is doing?