Why will you discourage the hearts of the Israelites from going over into the land that the LORD has given them? (Numbers 32:7 NRSV)
Writer Robert Fulghum admits that he's no fisherman, although he says he does sometimes enjoy it. Well, one summer day he, a friend of his, his nephew, and his friend's son decided to go fishing. His friend said that he knew a certain lake nearby that was absolutely teeming with fish, and they'd be sure to catch something there.

So the next day they set out for the lake before dawn. There were already a number of fisherman there, so they knew it had to be a good spot. The four of them got into their boat, claimed a spot, and cast their lines.

Well, Fulghum felt a tug on his line practically before it hit the water. He was thrilled. He knew this was going to be a good day. But he was in for a disappointment, because the fish on the end of his line turned out to be very small. There were a number of snickers as he sadly took the fish off the hook and tossed it back in the water.

But, he thought to himself, the day was just starting. He had lots of time to catch bigger fish. So he cast out into the lake again. And again he immediately felt a tug on his line. Excitedly he began to reel it in. But when he took his catch out of the water, you'll never believe what he'd caught -- a bat. Somehow or another he had snagged a bat by its wing while making his cast. And the poor thing had drowned when he dragged it through the water.

After that, nobody caught anything. Nothing. All day. The trip home was very quiet as the group pondered their bad luck.

Have you ever had such an experience? Where you try your best but still can't seem to accomplish anything? At times like that, we wonder why we even bothered in the first place. Don't let discouragement get the best of you. Remember the joy of Christ's resurrection. A resurrection that gives us hope!

Lord Jesus, give me wisdom to live in harmony with your hope. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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