Rough Water by Randy Rowley 4/10/09 ©


The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted three-foot seas for our late October 12-hour FCS deep-sea fishing trip at Port Aransas (aka Port A).  However, when my five friends and I met Captain Ron Pierson at the dock Friday night before our trip, he informed us that the NWS now forecasted four-foot seas.  Bravely (or stupidly), we told him that such seas were no problem and retired for the night so that we would be fresh for our rendezvous the next day.

At 5:00 AM the following morning, Ron reported that the seas would be even higher than forecasted.  Once again, we thought nothing of it and hopped on Ron’s Marlin Babe for our meeting with an unnamed oil rig, 25 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ride out to the rig was a little rough but not nearly as bad as what was to come.  It took us a couple of hours to get to the rig.  Once we arrived, the deckhand attached a boom to the rig.  That was when a ride similar to the Texas Cliffhanger at Six Flags began.  A wave would carry us up-up-up, and then as it receded, we would go down-down-down.  Although I’m no expert at gauging the height of seas, it seemed that most of them were at least as high as I am tall (6’ 1”), and there were many waves that were as tall as a one-story house.

The only way that the fishermen on the port side of the boat (which were Jim McGee and me) could fish was to clamp our legs to the ice chests that we were sitting on, hold onto the side of the boat with our right arms, and hold our rod and reel with our left arms.  If we didn’t do that, we would slide to the starboard side of the boat, or the ice chests would slide out from under us.

Steve Watkins and the late Tom Geary fished the starboard side.  Due to the waves’ direction, they didn’t have to worry about sliding over to the other side, so they had an easier time.

Tim Price and the late Derrich Pollock weren’t able to fish at all.  Tim didn’t put on his seasickness patch until we left the dock, which was about four hours too late.  All that he could do for the first couple of hours that we fished was hug an ice chest.  Derrich, the most experienced fisherman of us, could only stand and stare at other oil rigs.  As long as he did that, he was fine, but the second he took his eyes off one, he would get sick.

We caught eight red snappers, four of which were keepers, but after about three hours of riding the roller coaster waves, we decided that we’d experienced all the fun we could stand and asked Ron to take us someplace where the waves would be less terrible.

After another two-hour ride, we arrived at the Corpus Christi ship channel between the Port A north and south jetties.  We spent the remainder of our day fishing there.  We only caught one more fish – but it was a doozy.  Jim landed a 41-inch long, 22-pound bull redfish!  It put up quite a fight before the deckhand gaffed it.  The rest of us didn’t get a bite, but I saw about a six-foot-long tarpon launch itself into the air!  We went over to where I saw it, but it either wasn’t interested in our cut bait or was long gone.

What was truly amazing was we weren’t in a storm.  Strong winds were enough to make us miserable.  I can only imagine how unhappy we would have been if it was an actual storm.

Matthew 8:23-27 describes one of the most famous storms in the Bible.  Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus, who had been teaching and healing people for several days, was tired and fell fast asleep.  Then a great storm developed.  The disciples, four of whom were experienced fishermen and sailors and no strangers to storms, became deathly afraid.  They woke Jesus and begged him to save them, as they thought they would drown.  Jesus marveled at their lack of faith and then rebuked the winds and the waves, and suddenly the sea became utterly calm.

There have been times when I almost gave up all hope during storms in my life like the disciples did.  My greatest trial to date was when Chris (my wife) was diagnosed with breast cancer.  During that trial, many thoughts ran through my head, and I experienced many emotions (fear, grief, and anger, to name a few).  During that ordeal, I often felt as if someone had hit me in the stomach with a sledgehammer.  My trust in God – that he would see us through the storm waivered.  I found that it was much easier to question God than it was to trust him.

Fortunately, God’s Word has answers.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Three of the things that I am sure of are Chris loves God, he loves her, and he will cause all things to work together for her good.  I may not understand until I am in heaven why he allowed her to develop cancer that resulted in a double mastectomy, but I knew that he would make good come out of it.  I also knew that we were not alone.  God also allowed something horrible to happen to his only son – to die an agonizing death for people who hated God and people who still hate him today.  But much good came from it.

Looking back at my storm with Chris, I once again realized that God was watching out for us.  Her doctor could have very easily missed the thickened area in her breast.  The Radiologist who viewed Chris’s mammogram right before her biopsy told her that her breast looked normal.  She told Chris that she didn’t need the biopsy.  If she hadn’t gone through with the biopsy, her cancer could have easily spread and become life-threatening.  Although God didn’t heal Chris, he spared her life.  And much good has come from it.

We must not base our trust in God on our circumstances or emotions.  We have to realize that, just as the storm that Jesus rebuked was of no significance to him, our storms do not alarm him today.

Jesus said in John 14:27a, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”  He said in John 16:24, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  God wants us to have peace and joy.  He wants to still our stormy seas and for us to experience his calm.  To attain his peace, we must trust him all of the time but especially when storms are raging in our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  The most important things to do during a storm are to trust in God with all our hearts, not trust in our ability to understand the situation, and acknowledge that God is on his throne and will work everything to our good.  We can only put such trust into action if we stop trying to fight the stormy seas and allow God to be the captain of our ships.


Jim with his bull redfish

Categories : Devotionals

Bible verse of the day

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/