Once there was a Methodist minister who went fishing with several of his parishioners on a lake in Oklahoma. It was the middle of the night, the hour when the most determined fishermen stalk their quarry. Everyone but the minister seemed to be catching something. Finally, he asked one of his fishing buddies for advice.
“That lure you’re using is no good,” his friend pointed out. “It’s too bright and shiny. You need a dark one.” Then the man pulled out an all–black lure and gave it to him.
It’s night, the minister thought to himself. What possible good is a black lure? How could the fish even see it?
But the fisherman, reading his thoughts, explained, “It’s the moon. Tonight’s a full moon, and that moonlight shimmers down through the waters. But it’s still not bright like the sun. A shiny lure, like you’d use in the daytime, won’t work at night. A black lure stands out in silhouette against the moon.”
There are seasons of life when the bright optimism of good times just won’t do. At times like those, only a black lure will succeed in landing us. And what — or who — is such a lure? Only a Lord who was himself crucified, dead and buried — and who has descended into hell.
“The world breaks everyone,” wrote Ernest Hemingway (a tortured soul if ever there was one) in A Farewell to Arms, “and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” Only a Savior who has known such brokenness and ministered to it can have any help of saving us.