Weak Lines and Slipped Knots

If you have fished long enough, you know the fear I am about to describe. The fear that you don’t realize is lurking until you hook into a big fish and they start taking out line. The fear that, despite how strong your rod and reel are or how high the test strength of your line is, that your knot could give way or your line could break under the weight of a big fish. And if we do lose that fish due to a slipped knot or a break in the weak spot of our line, we are left wondering why we didn’t take the time to make sure it was right.

A few years ago, my parents and I ventured out to Lake Fork in East Texas for a relaxing weekend of fishing and grilling. If you aren’t familiar with Lake Fork, it is known nationwide as a hotspot for big bass and is widely regarded as one of the lakes that the next world record bass could come from. I was excited to fish it, but I didn’t have high hopes of landing much, if anything. Dad and I knew nothing of the Lake and our first evening there, we were content with just puttering along and enjoying the scenery while looking for a spot that looked like it could hold fish.

The area we decided on was a point of land that jutted out sharply from the rest of the shore. Flooded trees and Lillie pads crowded the water just off the bank and looked both beautiful and withered at the same time. While the Lillie’s were green and vibrant, the trees were old and grey with death, twisted with age with branches that shot out as if to forbid all trespassers from the waters beyond. We reached the area just before sunset and I had just started throwing a plastic Brush Hog when something grabbed my line and started moving. I set the hook and watched in amazement as my line shot out, stripping the drag and shattering the silence of the evening. I muscled the fish back and started fighting when it made a dash toward one of the old dead trees that guarded the area. Before I could react or try to change its direction – POW – the line came shooting back at me and in an instant all was silent once again. My hands trembled, still caught in adrenaline from the fight, as I pulled the line up and inspected it to figure out what had happened. Much to my disgust, the line had slipped at the hook and broken just above where it had been tied. I was sick. On such an important Lake and on such an important day, why had I not double checked that knot? Why didn’t I replace the line all together to make sure it was at full strength? Why didn’t I check for weak points before chasing after world record bass in a lake famous for producing them? Why wasn’t I ready?

My fishing story relates back to our own lives in many ways. Sometimes, most times, we break where we are weakest. Most times, the areas that we struggle with or try to hide from God and others are the areas that are our downfall when the stress and weight of life is applied. Look at how David describes this and what his plea to God is in Psalms:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

– Psalm 139: 23-24

So often we don’t realize how dangerous that weak point in our life really is. We are so good at limping along and hiding this from God and others, that we are lulled into a false sense of security… “So I struggle with this one thing, who doesn’t struggle!? Nobody is perfect… What my wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her… This helps me deal with the stress of life and be a better person, so it’s fine.” Does this sound familiar? We all bargain within ourselves like this, but deep down I think we know the danger that we hold in our hands when we do this… The question is whether we are brave enough to face it. Unresolved bitterness always turns to poison. Unchecked anger always isolates those around us. Uncontrolled lust is always in danger of turning into unfaithfulness that breaks apart families.

Whatever your weak place is, the right solution will never be to hide it, ignore it, or try to fix it outside of Christ. Any way we try to address these issues outside of the Word of God and outside of His plan will only provide a temporary fix. The right solution is what we see modeled in David’s prayer. When facing these issues, we should daily ask God for help to overcome our weak places in life. We should go to God and ask him to reveal the areas that we are weakest that would keep us from living a fulfilled life for Him. We should ask God what the root of this is – what causes this behavior – and how we can conquer this with his help. We should ask him to strengthen and sustain us in our fight and help us get to freedom from that which has a hold in our life. God is faithful to provide all we need if we are courageous enough to face the sin head on and ask for help.

Don’t be caught with a slipped knot or a weak spot in the line of your life. Don’t wait until it’s too late and the strain of life breaks you at your weak point before you run to God for help. Go to God daily and ask for his help to lead you. Be courageous and fight, for God is faithful!

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