Fish Hooked

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from Him.

Last week, I met my family at one of our favorite places in Louisiana. The fishing destination is 45 minutes from nowhere, and our RV was parked along a dock deep in the marsh.

My grandsons love to fish right off the dock while their dad goes kayak fishing. On this sunny day they were busily casting, and I was just inside the RV. When the 5 year old called me to come help him untangle his fishing line, I stepped outside in socks. As I knelt on the dock, I put my foot down on a fish hook. The barb pierced my toe just at my cuticle and curved up under my toenail.

I don’t want to be melodramatic, but I can’t lie. The pain was significant. Every time I tried to turn my foot for a better look, or to move into a different position, the pain shot up through my body. It was completely restricting any movement – staying still was the only way to stop the pangs. I called my daughter to go to the bait shop to find someone to help.

I was busily working on trying to remove the hook myself (cringing and crying out the whole time) when Ryan showed up to help. He took one look and said “Of all the places in your foot for that to have gone in, that’s a bad spot. I won’t lie to you – it’s not going to feel good coming out. In fact, it’s really going to hurt.”

Given the pain I was already experiencing, the thought of someone yanking a hook out of my toe was terrifying. I suggested that perhaps I should go to the emergency room so they could numb my foot first. Or maybe we could just cut the hook off and let the piece in my foot work itself out. My pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears, however. I was told it had to come out, and that there was only one way. Ryan was going to find the right angle, take hold of the hook – and pull it out.

I couldn’t even fathom what that was going to feel like. The panic began to rise.

But he said to me, “Listen to me. I know you are scared. But I have done this before, and its going to be ok. We are going to pull it out, and I will be ready with compression and bandages. The worst part is over quickly and then it will feel much better.”

I didn’t really trust him, but I had no choice. So I turned my head, said a prayer, and braced myself. He yanked on the hook, and it was out. Surprisingly – and mercifully – the pain was brief. The blood started gushing but we took care of the wound quickly, and it was over.

As I sit here now, my toe still throbs a bit. It is evident there was an injury, but it doesn’t stop me at all – in fact, today I went for a run. A small mark and little dull ache is the only trace of something which nearly paralyzed me with fear.

There are things in our lives which have pierced us, and they are causing excruciating pain. They restrict our movement and keep us in one place, too fearful to move a muscle. We know the situation needs a remedy, but we first try to numb it somehow, or cut off the edges , leaving part of it to fester in our lives.

The thought of yanking these things out of our lives is too terrifying to contemplate. We would rather find a way to live with the pain we know, than to remove the source of the pain.

The Lord tells us that we comfort those with the comfort we have been given. He doesn’t leave us alone in our distress – He always sends His children help, usually in the form of a person who has been through their particular situation before. They will understand and acknowledge your pain and your fear, but also reassure you that they will be by your side as you deal with it.

And the reality of dealing with a painful situation is rarely as bad as the anticipation of doing so. It may bleed a little, and you may feel an ache here and there. But I promise, if you simply steel yourself and face the pain, healing is just around the corner.

Be strong. Be brave.
Let God reveal your Ryan, and get unstuck.
You’re going to be just fine.

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