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Editor's journey


Death of a fisherman

CONCORD, CALIF. — A friend of mine recently lost his battle with leukemia. More than 30 years ago, Wayne Lewis adopted me as his fishing partner after my father was hit and killed by a drunken driver. He taught me how to bait a hook, land a sturgeon and clean all types of sea creatures.

Wayne enjoyed fishing, but he loved telling fishing stories even more. He talked about fishing in the choir room before church and in the parking lot after service. "Wayne," I’d say with a boyish grin, "you need to have your own fishing show on television. No one knows more about fishing than you."

One afternoon when we were fishing near the Benicia Bridge in California, I asked, "Why do you like to fish so much?"

"I guess I just feel closer to God when I have a fishing pole in my hand and a baited hook in the water," he replied.

It took me a while to understand how fishing could make a person feel closer to God. But eventually I discovered that fishing has a way of quieting our minds and stilling our spirits so we can hear the voice of God.

Although typically jovial and conversant, Wayne liked to fish in silence. At first I thought he was quiet because he didn’t want to scare away the fish. But later he explained that while fishing he often pondered the goodness of God, prayed for his wife and three daughters, and listened to the Holy Spirit.

Wayne taught me a great deal about fishing, but he also demonstrated the meaning of Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God" (NIV). Sometimes when facing imposing challenges we simply need to find a place of solitude — where all we hear are the sounds of nature and the whispers of the Holy Spirit. In our silence we receive divine healing and guidance.

In his final days, Wayne embodied the words of Charles Finney: "If you are filled with the Spirit … you will be calm under affliction … you will always feel prepared to die and not afraid to die, and you will be proportionately more happy forever in heaven."

I don’t know if there’s fishing in heaven, but I’m confident my friend is experiencing peace and joy and feeling "closer to God" with or without a fishing pole in his hand.

If you want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and receive the promise of eternal life in heaven, please follow the ABCs of salvation.

— Hal Donaldson

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