• Jennifer Hastings

Make it a Combo

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Fishing rods in hand and anticipation in our hearts, we begin the trek to the sandbar. This beach holds more than sand, it holds our families’ memories. We have been coming back to this same stretch of beach for years and it seems to belong to us.

With each step memories flash in and out of my mind, as we close the distance to “the spot”. I can see Claire’s face as she is catching a crab in her net for the first time and squealing with pleasure. She quickly named him Jabers, by the way. We were going to try and cook Jabers, but he died before we could. Once, we pretended we were hunting for treasure (hermit crabs) and hiding from the mean pirate, which was Stewart fishing in the distance. The memories warm my heart, while the sun toasts my shoulders.

The sun glistens on the water, the waves play peek a boo with our toes, and the wind kisses our faces as the day is full of promises. We chatter back and forth about our trip so far and how nice it is that the kids are back at the beach house with my dad. We have a few hours to be kid free!

I start to pray in my heart asking God to give us a redfish when God prompts me to pray out loud with Stewart. I start to tell God, I would rather just pray silently, but then I remember, I’m working on actually obeying what God tells me to do. My prayer went something like this…

Dear Lord,

We know you love us and we are your children. Your word says if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. We ask you, creator of the ocean to give us a redfish. You told Peter to cast his nets on the other side of the boat after they had fished all day without a bite. The nets became so full, the boat started to sink. I’m just asking for one, though! Just a single redfish.

Love you, Amen!

Stewart is fishing with an ugly little fake shrimp thingy and I am fishing with a golden spoon. No bites, no bites, no bites…my shoulders begin to feel heavy and the sun begins to feel a few degrees too warm. I dip down into the water to cool off a bit. Stewart switches rods with me and I begin to wonder if he only invites me, so he can have the benefit of fishing two different lures at the same time. I silently remind God of my wishes and how much I would love to see Stewart catch a redfish.

“I’ve got one!!!” he yells. Stewart’s line starts running and the rod bends in that unmistakable I’ve got a big fish on my line, kind of way. “It is a red, go get the bucket, so I don’t lose it! This one is putting up a good fight.”

I look back at the shore and the bucket is a tiny little speck in the sand. “Really, you want me to run ALL the way back?”

“YES!!!”, he screams. His face is alive with adrenaline and I know he means for me to actually, literally, run back, like my life depends on it.

I hop to it... I’m off. This is not the easiest task, keep in mind, we have been meandering far from shore over the last thirty minutes. I look back at Stewart, he waves his hand at me, as if to say, quit looking back and go faster.

I am out of shape… I have to bring my knees up out of the water to move faster and my legs and lungs are burnin’! Keep in mind, we are about a half mile from shore, plus, every so often my feet sink into this weird grassy quicksand that turns my stomach. I press forward, hoping our “red” doesn’t break free before I can return with the bucket.

I reach for the bucket like a track star reaches for a baton, and I begin leg two of my bucket race. He is slowly walking backward and I look all kinds of goofy and awkward jogging through the water.

The gap is finally closed between us and...oh, I see it... dancing in the water! It is beautiful! It is a big one and I see the telltale black mark on its tail! Score! Redfish! Thank you, Lord!

“Get the bucket ready! I’m going to bring him right to you.” Stewart looks at me like you had better get this right.

Seems easy enough, right? WRONG! I miss! The fish must have seen the bucket, it swerved right out of the bucket and turned last minute. I’m beginning to feel the pressure now. Get it right, Jennifer! I tell myself and then concentrate on the task at hand. Redfish into bucket!! Redfish into the bucket! Redfish...bucket!

He swims toward me one more time and this time, I hold the bucket half in the water and half out and scoop that sucker right up!

Stew is whooping and hollering in true redneck fashion and I join in! I can’t help myself. There was so much magic in that moment. Two grown-ups are kids again. We are in awe of nature and God! We celebrate! We dance! We high-five! We photograph "Red" like new parents take pictures of their little one.

The walk back to the house was a blur as we rode our fish high. The twinkle in Stewart’s eye was priceless.

You may not believe God answered my fish prayer, but I do. He has been so faithful to answer my specific prayers over the last few years that there is not a doubt in my mind ... he gifted us the fish.

Do I think God answers all of our silly frivolous prayers with a yes? No, I don’t. We don’t give our own kids everything they ask for or want. Every once in a while, we do, however, bless them just because they are our children and we love them so much.

God is showing me that prayer isn’t for him… it is a gift for me. Prayer is for us. Somehow God uses the Holy Spirit to mold our thoughts and ways to his light, truth, and freedom when we pray. He uses prayer to build our faith and trust in him.

One truth I’ve learned about prayer...God loves it when we speak his word to him in prayer. It is like throwing fuel on the fire. It accelerates our prayers. I’ve noticed when I speak scripture to God, the answer comes.

Think about how proud we are of our kids when we hear them speak “our words or lessons” we have taught them. Our hearts soar when we see them take on new responsibilities and see growth in their character. God is delighted when we speak to him with his words and truth.

In the day where Americans supersize everything, the way I see it, we ought to supersize our prayers. Make it a combo! Pray the specific prayer! Use his words and pray in alignment with his will and stand back, because he will blow you away with his faithfulness and power.

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