I’ve been three times now and I’m starting to lose hope. I keep hearing rumors about these tasty leviathans that meander just off the second sandbar on their annual pilgrimage around the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve heard rumors of folks catching them off the pier and even seen pictures of people on boats holding these massive brown fish. I’ve spent two days in the last week trolling the waters from Fort Pickens to the pier searching for the elusive Cobia. I am not alone; I counted at least 30 other boats on Wednesday last week doing the same thing. I don’t know if they ever got one, but I’ve gone home skunked each time. Frankly, I’m not sure they really exist.
Some folks spend their spring looking for Cobia while others search for pompano. Others go inland to try to call in wild turkeys. Each of these endeavors can be as daunting as finding Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster. Some folks search for UFO’s and crop circles. Others are completely dedicated to the chupacabra, a personal favorite. While we are not all believers, we can all believe that each of these are elusive at best.
Let’s look at the evidence. Biologists have identified a fish they call “Rachycentron canadum” that meets the general description of a cobia. They migrate from the Atlantic and supposedly pass around Florida this time of year. You can find them served in fine restaurants as the “fish of the day” or as the “special.” There are even cobia tournaments hosted by various tackle shops and clubs, even though I think this is more akin to a snipe hunt. There are pictures posted proudly in bait shops with guys wearing sunglasses and big grins as they hold these big fish. You can google them. If they are on the internet, they have to be real, right?
There are other elusive searches in life, too. My 10 year old daughter is doing her 4th grade “Tropicana” speech on a topic of her own choosing: God is real. As she has prepared, she has found that many folks have had just as hard a time encountering God as I have had with Cobia. She is left having to share of her own experiences and site stories of other trusted folks who have had personal experience with the God she trusts. It’s a big topic for such a little girl.
In life, we often pursue that which has eluded us. For me, it’s cobia. For others it is true love. Some folks spend their lives trying to find purpose or direction. Others search for sobriety while others seek help for their depression. Some folks are looking for even a hint that there is a God and the love that they have heard so much about on Sunday mornings. Most of us are searching for something if we are really honest and are really living.
I’m not sure what is eluding you, but I can assure you that you are not alone. There are others who have struggled with the same issues, problems, and puzzles. The good news is that many of them have overcome! There are those who have found true love, purpose, and financial peace. There are those who have beaten depression, addiction, and self hate. I know because I have heard their stories and seen their pictures. I trust these people because I see the passion in their eyes and hear the urgency in their voices when they tell their stories. It gives hope to folks who have never experienced these things themselves.
I guess I’m going to keep trying to catch a cobia, because so many people can’t be wrong. I am not going to give up on searching for what matters. I’m going to celebrate when someone else find their prize. I’m going to encourage others to keep trying and remind them that they are not alone. I will point to the successes of others and proclaim that those can be ours, too! Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and believed” (John 20:29). I guess I believe in Cobia after all and I believe in you, too!
Love one. Love another.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Allan Quak on Dec 21, 2005
While there are times when Jesus became a little frustrated by the questions the disciples asked, He never got to a point where He told the disciples to stop asking questions because having questions is part of our growth as disciples.