The Lighthouse and The Fishing Buddies
by Joe Rodriguez
Since childhood, both Mark and Joey would accompany their fathers on frequent fishing trips. As teenagers, they kept the habit alive by regularly getting together to cast their hooks from the pier. That’s how they came to be known as the fishing buddies.
One day, when in their mid-twenties, Mark and Joey planned and undertook their very first fishing escapade miles away from shore. Even before they were surprisingly caught up in the storm, they had been aware of the lighthouse that stood tall and strong at the edge of the cliff. They knew it was there to guide those who found themselves lost at sea. Stories of previous shipwrecks and life-saving rescues reminded them that keeping their eyes fixed on the lighthouse would be their best chance for survival should they encounter any trouble out in the waters.
The initial boat ride into the deep blue sea was smooth and without mishap. But just a couple of hours after anchoring their vessel, they noticed that the dark clouds and flashes of lightning, which seemed to be at a considerable distance at first, were moving rather quickly towards them. The lighthouse on top of the cliff was still clearly visible. Not wanting to risk being caught in the middle of the storm and pulled further away into the ocean, they decided to head back to shore. Within minutes, clear skies turned dark gray. The arriving clouds gave way to pelting rain, high wind gusts, and waves that rapidly increased in size and strength. Needless to say, both young men were gripped by fear as they tried to stay the course. But even in the midst of their misfortune, somehow seeing the flashing beacon and the majestic rocks at the base of the cliff was enough to calm their anxieties. As they battled through the turbulent waters, the lighthouse became their focal point; their source of hope and strength.
Before they knew it, they were safely back ashore and inside their pickup truck. In spite of the fact that their much-anticipated trip was cut short and turned out to be a rather scary ordeal, they both looked up at the lighthouse then at each other and smiled. Joey asked Mark, “Shall we try again next week?” “Sure!” replied Mark, “As long as the lighthouse keeps shining, we can always find our way back.” Joey and Mark went on many more fishing trips together thereafter. And yes, some were cut short because of the weather, but they always made it back safely because they kept their eyes on the lighthouse. That was almost 50 years ago.
Mark and Joey are now both retired and remain fishing buddies. They still live in the same old neighborhood they grew up in. They don’t sail into the waters anymore but they still get together to fish at the pier and, on overcast days, they occasionally recount of how, during stormy days at sea, keeping their eyes on the light was what gave them a sense of peace and helped them find their way back to shore.
During our life’s journey, there will be times when we are presented with the opportunity to go on wonderful adventures, both physical and spiritual. But we will also have to face stormy days that can and will dampen many of them. Days when the voices of those who oppose our faith will sound like boisterous thunder. Days when temptation and sin will flash before us like bolts of lightning. Days when physical challenges will blow against us like blustering winds. And days when spiritual battles will strike us like violent waves. For this very reason, we must remain focused on God’s word, His promises, and on Jesus. He is the guiding light that will provide hope during difficult times and help us find strength while we wait for the storms to pass. And like the fishing buddies, we can always look forward to other promising adventures simply because Jesus is the unmovable lighthouse that continuously shines the light of salvation. The light that will always guide us back to safety when we are caught in the storms of life.
We may live long enough to reach an age and a spiritual maturity where we no longer have the same excitement (or strength) to go on new adventures as we once did. Yet, we can still recount about God’s faithfulness and how his light guided us whenever we needed direction. These are the stories (testimonies) that we must pass on to the younger generation. The stories that will help them through the many exciting as well as the less-desirable adventures they too will experience while navigating the sea of life.
So, whether we are jaunting through one of life’s many journeys or battling through one of its challenging storms, it would behoove us to keep our eyes (mindset, emotions) on Jesus at ALL times. We must be careful not to allow security, success, abundance, and momentary joys to cause us to ignore the warning light of complacency and self-sufficiency. Nor should we allow failure, discouragement, fear, and doubt to drag us deeper into the oceans of despair. Remember, navigating through the turbulent waters of life can make it difficult to get back to the shores of true joy and peace, but we will ALWAYS find our way if we keep our eyes on the Light (Jesus).
Prayer: Jesus, you are the light of the world; the hope of all nations. Whether in times of joy or in times of turmoil, may my eyes remain focused on you. For your light is the only thing that will guide me to and keep me where your salvation rests. And should I be blessed with long life, may I recount of your faithfulness and great mercies so that those who still have a way to go on their life’s journey may know where to find hope and direction. In your precious name, I pray, Amen.