Category Archives: Fishing in God’s Pond

Fishing in God’s Pond – Daily nibbles by Dean Jarrett

The Heart of a Father


The Heart of a Father – dfj


When our focus is on one of our own kids, we can begin to understand how much God thought of his only begotten Son… and how much He loves us, too.


My friend Steve was telling me a little bit about his family. “I don’t know if you know it or not, but Martha (one of his three daughters) was born with a number of medical problems. She had: a premature birth, weighing only 4 pounds and spending her first year in the hospital; a heart defect; a tumor under her chin; bowels that had to be resected within a year of her birth. The heart defect was very serious. The blood vessels connected to her heart were reversed…” Steve told me that at the time, there were only two doctors in the world who had successfully performed the surgery to correct that last problem – and one of them was in Boston. Steve and his wife made the necessary arrangements to deliver his daughter into the hands of the man who could literally save her life.

But a week before he was to take Martha to Boston for heart surgery, Steve got a FedEx letter from his insurance company. His family health insurance had been cancelled. Now, before you jump to the same conclusions that I did about a greedy, heartless, soulless, profit-driven insurance company stranding a family in need, let me explain the circumstances. You see, there was an accountant at one of the companies that Steve had founded who had neglected to pay their health insurance premium – just flat forgot to pay THAT bill. Although it was unintentional, the effect was just as devastating: the thing that Martha needed to save her life – heart surgery – was now financially out of reach. No matter how sorry his accountant professed to be, it didn’t change a basic consequence of the business world: no pay, no play.

Desperate, Steve flew to the corporate headquarters of his (former) insurance company. He had a check in hand for the past-due premium in the slim hope that he could get re-instated so that Martha could have the surgery. How deep is a father’s love for his children? In this case, it went deeper than every level of minion and supervisor at the insurance company – all the way up to and including the Vice President in Charge of Underwriting, the final “court of appeal.” Everyone said, “No. We can’t do that.” Everyone told him that someone with half a million dollars in medical bills already, and that was scheduled for at least that much more, was not exactly an ideal re-instatement candidate. And then, at the request of Steve, they passed him along to the next guy up the ladder. Until the last guy. Because when he told Steve “No”, there was no one higher in the underwriting side of the company to appeal to.

Crushed, Steve went down to the insurance company’s cafeteria to gather himself and reconcile the inevitable before he flew home to his family. As he brooded over a final cup of coffee, another man that he had yet to meet joined him at the table.

“Mr. Francis?” he asked as he sat down next to Steve.

“Yes,” Steve answered.

“Mr. Francis, my name is Willard Hartley. I’m the president of this company, and I can’t tell you how much I don’t want to do business with you right now.” Steve nodded. He was a businessman himself and he understood about making tough decisions. There was a right way to do business and a wrong way. But still, Steve had come today to plead for grace rather than justice. And at least some of the people he had spoken with today were sympathetic, though unhelpful.

Mr. Hartley continued, “But sometimes you have to do the right thing anyway. Do you have your check?”


“We’ll re-instate you.”

Wow! Just like that a leader in corporate America decided that something very dear to him and his shareholders, the bottom line, would, at least this once, take a back seat to mercy. And, perhaps, the Corporate Head of the universe smiled and nodded, pleased that one of his creatures had followed his lead in the sacrifice of something very dear to him for the lives of those who could never save themselves. So great is our Father’s love for us that He sent His very own Son to die in our place, that we might, through faith, live with Him for eternity.

Love Again


Love Again – dfj 5/11


God uses Mother’s Day cards to remind me ( a dad) how much I’m loved.

Some days life just flows along so smoothly and sweetly, I forget that I’m a human being. The alarm sings to me, but I’ve already been awake for five minutes skillfully planning the conquest of the rest of my day. I’m refreshed and energized and my waffle cooks to a crispy, tasty perfection and my juice is cold and sweet. The car starts on the first click and the radio is just starting to play a wonderful song that I haven’t heard in years. Work is fun and rewarding and each person in the office has another positive piece that they graciously add to an already blossoming day.

And then there are days when I can’t wait to get to my final destination. In this life I’m so broken and inept, everything is a challenge and few things are resolved agreeably. I wake up tired because one of my family members had a rough night (and now I might be coming down with something, too) and I realize that there’s no way I’ll be able to get everything done today that needs to be done. At breakfast, all the fruit has been consumed by the voracious locusts that are my kids and an empty milk carton sits forlornly in the refrigerator, waiting for someone (me) to move it to the trash can. Dry cereal (again). My car starts, but I swear I can hear a bearing screeching somewhere beneath the hood, just lurking there until life gets a little more harried before it fails completely. Do I dare even go in to work?

What am I missing?

Just about everything! Slow down, Dean… be still awhile.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. What a great time to stop and count God’s blessings. Without a doubt, there were times (that I realize now, though the thought eluded me then) that my Mom was “God with skin on.” Every time she hugged or kissed me or soothed my hurts or gave me a word of encouragement, God was saying “I love you, Dean. No matter what else changes, that never will.” My Mom left to be with the Lord twenty-three years ago and every time that I remember her, it is a gift of love and comfort from my Heavenly Father. His son, Jesus, is a reminder of the promise that I will see her again in eternity… and He does things like that all the time.

How can I wake up in the morning after a rather sleepless night and not be thankful that my wife and children have made it safely through the same night? How can I look at a ransacked cupboard and not be glad that God had filled it in the first place? How can I ignore the fact that I have a reliable (though well broken-in) car to drive and a great job to go to and a wonderful home to return to at the end of the day?

Last week I bought Mother’s Day cards for me and my four kids to give to my wife – one card for each child and one more for me. One of my twin sons, Micah, signed all the cards (except mine). In each card, he wrote a variation of “Love (again), Micah.” At first I thought, “He messed up everybody else’s card,” but then I realized how wrong I was. God sends me little love notes every day and sometimes they’re in other people’s lives (or cards) or they come disguised as problems. But the problems are sometimes there just so I’ll slow down enough to notice the card attached: It says, “Love (again), God.”

Cherry Bomb


Cherry Bomb – dfj 5/9/11

A friend once told me this story about her first car. It reminds me that we often don’t know what’s good for us. And yet sometimes we, by God’s grace, find out.

It was already ten years old when it was passed down to her, and ten was like a hundred when you were in your teens and were considering the age of the car you’re driving. And besides being ancient, it wasn’t pretty – it had a hatchback and the paint was a faded, oxidized red. She nicknamed it the “Cherry Bomb,” primarily because of its original red color, and (maybe) secondly, because of she hoped it would “blow up” one day and be gone.

She knew that her classmates would ridicule the Cherry Bomb – many of them were driving cars years newer and several shades less faded – and for a time they did. But even as she developed an affection for it, her friends began to take a perverse pride in being seen riding in the “Bomb”. During early classes they’d ask her, “Hey can I ride shotgun in the Cherry Bomb at lunch?” Part of the entertainment value was derived from the occasional unexpected opening of the hatchback when the car braked to a stop… or when one of the back seats would fold over on an unsuspecting passenger. Her car, her “trial”, became a blessing that she never would have understood when it first crashed into her life.

Sometimes we avoid the different or unsightly without knowing the cherished memories and lessons that might be spawned from our otherwise neglected choices. God sometimes sets before us opportunities that we perceive as obstacles and therefore, as we choose to circumnavigate them, we miss the chance to experience those off-color gems that we’ll later treasure… after the trial is over. And it’s fun having milestones to mark our lives.

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, a representative of each of the twelve tribes was told to take a stone out of the riverbed. When everyone was across, God’s people stacked the stones as a remembrance of God’s mercy and blessing.   They would remember the ugliness of forty years of wandering outside the Promised Land. Not exactly the vehicle that they had wanted forty years before, but the one that God had given them to travel from rebellion, ingratitude and failure to thankfulness, obedience and success. It probably took a number of years of distance to be able to look back on the gradual winnowing of the original refugees from Egypt and realize that God had loved them and led them and had provided for them the whole time. Sometimes we don’t get what we want according to our schedule, but on God’s schedule nothing’s the wrong size, or age, or color, and our job is to use the events (and the “Cherry Bombs”) of life to glorify and praise Him – hopefully sooner rather than later. “I called shotgun!”