When I was a young boy one of my most prized possessions was a “Magic Bobber.” Now this was no ordinary bobber with which to fish. No sir, the Magic Bobber was unique. It was much larger than the typical red and white bobbers, about the size of your palm, and it was shaped like a space ship akin to a modified, upside down Starship Enterprise. Fishing with the Magic Bobber was special because nobody else had a bobber that could do what it could. Little did I know at the time, but the Magic Bobber was special in another way—it could have taught me a lot about life and faith!
When fishing with ordinary bobbers, small amounts of wind or fish toying with the bait can quickly move your line out of the sweet spot of your cast. With the Magic Bobber, you didn’t have to worry about such things because it’s aerodynamic design allowed you to redeploy the bobber in the water without recasting. All you had to do to move the Magic Bobber was to pull the line firmly opposite the direction you wanted it to go, temporarily sinking the bobber and the let go. The Magic Bobber’s buoyant design was such that the tension of the pull under the water would cause the bobber to shoot out of the water in the opposite direction of the pull. Pull down to the right and the Magic Bobber would shoot out to the left and vice verse. Pull the Magic Bobber down under the water back toward you and the it would sail up and away from your position on the bank. Magic indeed!
What I did not realize until much later in life is the Magic Bobber was a nice metaphor for handling adversity in our lives. Few of us go through life unscathed by difficulty, setback or tragedy. Inevitably, at some point in our lives our trials and tribulations hit with such force that we feel their powerful undertow. In fact, a major failure or setback can pull us so far down spiritually that we get the sense we are drowning. Panic sets in and we begin thrashing about looking for something on to which to grab.
In these times, naturally we may start to question God’s plan for our life, whether God is paying attention to our needs or we may even begin to question God’s very existence. Faith can wain in even the most devout Christians in peril. Recall when the Disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, Peter asked Jesus to call out to him and he would walk on the water and join him. On hearing Jesus’ voice, Peter stepped out of the boat in faith and walked on the water. Yet after a few steps on the water, a small wind blew and Peter began to doubt causing him to sink. Jesus had to intervene and save him from drowning remaking, “Ye of little faith.” If a follower and firsthand observer of the miracles and majesty of Christ can doubt, it’s no wonder we have the same reaction in difficult times.
The Book of James tells us that testing of our faith produces patience and endurance and that we are to let endurance have its perfect result for that too is the work of God. For if we doubt, then we will be tossed about in the water by the wind just like an ordinary bobber. This is precisely when we need the buoyancy of faith. Faith is our “Magic Bobber.” Hebrews 11:1 tells us “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 reiterates that we walk by faith, not by sight. That is to say faith is needed most precisely when our lives are under water and we cannot see the way forward.
Faith is what tells us to stop drowning and start swimming even when we cannot see the shore. It not only raises us to the top of the water but faith propels us further ahead along our course toward God’s ultimate purpose for our lives. So cast your line in life confidently and when the wind begins to blow and difficulties ensue, let it run its course and remember we have been given the ultimate “Magic Bobber” in the buoyancy of faith!