There was once a campground in Wentzville with a few fishing lakes called Pinewoods Park. I used to fish there some with my grandpa but today’s memories are of an occasion that me and my brother, Paul, shared.
We were fishing in a small lake or pond, drinking sodas and eating donuts and catching a few carp and catfish. Near us was a man and his son bonding on a little fishing trip of their own.
The first thing I noticed was that the dad part of this fishing expedition was having a lot of trouble with his equipment. In fact, I think everyone in the county noticed because he was making it painfully aware to everyone that could hear his tirade about the quality of Zebco or whatever company had manufactured his (insert lots of words you would never say in church here) reel.
He became so involved with this problem that he completely ignored what his son was doing. The poor kid had problems of his own, not because his equipment was junk, but because he was a little kid that needed his dad’s help.
He tried to ask a couple times but Mr. Angry was not to be bothered with those problems he was wrapped up in his own. Well, the madder this guy got, the funnier it was to me and Paul. They were just a few yards away so we tried not to laugh out loud but it kept getting harder and harder.
The guy was so mad he couldn’t think, he couldn’t begin to untangle the messed up line, he had taken half the reel apart and done nothing more than add to his problem.
His poor little boy sat at the picnic table holding his rod wishing his dad would take just a second and help him get his line in the water.
Just when I didn’t think I could hold back my laughter any longer at this angry wet hen, he did it. He rared back and threw that rod and reel into the pond. Then laughter from all around the pond erupted and Paul and I had tears in our eyes from the frustrated guy giving up and tossing his whole rig in the water.
Now the story could have ended with him packing up his son and their stuff and slinking away in shame, but it didn’t.
No, this guy glared at everyone and stomped over to the picnic table where he sat in silence smoking one cigarette after another and then, after a long time he stood and announced his plan.
He told his son to wade out into the water and find his rod. Then, he insisted that his son do it after he balked a little at the idea. The poor kid wandered around in the muddy water trying to fix his dad’s screw-up. I will never forget the defiant, arrogant expression on that man’s face while his little boy was wading in the pond like he was being punished for his dad’s actions.
I wonder what happened to that kid.
2 Kings 21:21 He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped.
I wonder if he is doing the same things to his own kids now. I wonder if his dad is thinking, “Why did I treat my son that way?” I wonder if that day haunts him a little. I wonder if his son even speaks to him today. It is interesting to wonder but it does little good. Those were a few moments in my memory and they are long gone.
But I know what it is like to receive that kind of treatment, not from my dad but from the spiritual father I used to serve. I was beaten, humiliated, wounded, scarred and tormented. I was tortured and left to die but I still was loyal to him.
John 8:44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
That was me. I was fed lies and believed them. I fled from the truth and allowed my father to abuse me. That is the past now. No amount of guilt or regret can change a single second of it. My old father calls me up from time to time and tells me that I am used up, that my past is too much for God to heal and I am too far gone to ever be any good. I don’t have to listen to these evil lies.
1 John 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
Sometimes that old guy tried to tell me that God is making me slosh around in a muddy pond because He screwed up. I ain’t buying it. I know now that all things are working for my good because I love the Father of Truth. From this point on He is the example I will follow.
Yesterday is dead and gone, today is what matters. Someone, somewhere, at some point will follow our example. What example will it be?