The Texas morning was heavy with July heat, but I didn’t care. Hopping out of bed, I rushed through my chores of milking the cow and releasing the sheep from their pens. I was seven years old and excited. Today I was going fishing!
Gathering my cane pole, hooks, and stringer in one hand, and grabbing my glass jar of grasshoppers with the other, I dashed out the door. I had visions of returning with a mess of perch to feed my family of five, with a few extra to treat Lassie—my constant companion and best friend. Considering the joy of my potential catch, the thought of cleaning the fish was of little concern.
I ran the quarter mile to the largest of our three tanks on the home place. A “tank” in Texas is a big man-made pond, and this one had the windmill on it. Hearing that familiar squeak of the plunger pipe moving up and down made my heart race with anticipation.
Reaching the water’s edge, I placed my gear on a large rock and baited my hook. Grasshoppers—ugh! It was too dry to find any worms, so these would have to do. I cast my line into the water. No sooner had it settled than the red and white cork disappeared beneath the surface.
With a rush of adrenaline, I yanked hard on my pole, retracting it quickly. My “catch” on the line’s end slammed into my body. To my horror, I had hooked a cottonmouth water moccasin! I slung my pole and franticly ran circles—with the snake in hot pursuit and gaining ground.
Fear gripping my heart, I cried out, “Help, Lord!” A child’s cry for help—the shortest of prayers, but the most powerful. It goes directly to the ears of our Heavenly Father, seated on His throne of grace.
God immediately sent Lassie to my rescue. Barking and charging down the steep edge of the tank, she created enough commotion to scare off the water moccasin. Hugging Lassie close and thanking Jesus, a memory verse came to mind—“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you…” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV).
Once my heart stopped racing, I decided it was safe to fish again. The day’s catch turned out larger than anticipated, so Lassie had an extra special treat that night.