A Patient Man’s Game

I was born for the sea.  There is no place in the world that I feel more free and alive than out on the ocean.  Put me in the bow of a boat with the wind tangling my hair and salt water spraying my face and I’m a happy woman.

Sadly, it’s rare that I can get out on a boat.  But I’ve found that usually, I can still get a taste of that freedom and life by walking out to the very end of a good, long pier.  I close my eyes and feel the wind on my face.  It’s a healing experience.

Several times this week, I’ve crossed the Atlantic Beach bridge and come eye to eye with the Atlantic Ocean.  I come to the Atlantic Beach Causeway and almost instinctively turn left onto Fort Macon Road.  Just a little ways further and I’m at Oceanana Fishing Pier…  It’s the one I come to now that my favorite (Triple S Pier) has closed.

A fishing pier is a perfect place to engage in one of my favorite pasttimes.  People watching.

As I make my way down the pier, I covertly study all of the other people around me…  The young couples walking and holding hands…  The two white-haired ladies fishing with their visored faces towards the sun…  But it’s mostly men that are fishing and I notice on my way down the pier that most of the fish coolers are empty, while most of the beer coolers are full.

These men are pretty serious about their fishing.  When I get to the end, they don’t speak or acknowledge me.  But I’m okay with that.  I’m not here to talk to them.  I’m here for a conversation with God.  So, I find a place among them and quietly watch them try to entice a school of menhaden that are playing about fifty yards out.  The fishermen cast, reel in empty hooks, and cast again.  The menhaden are not interested in what the fishermen have.

Nobody catches anything on my end of the pier.  I decide to head down to the sand to feel the water on my feet.  As I’m walking back down the pier, I notice a small family on the right.

Mom is trying to keep a little boy of about 3 from diving off the pier.  Dad is sitting on a bench next to a little boy of about 5, showing him how to bait a hook.  They don’t see me, but I smile to myself and try not to stare at the two adorable, tow-headed boys.

Dad shows the boys how to cast.  The three-year-old is now in Mom’s arms and is more interested in the seagulls above his head.  But I hear the five-year-old bubbling with excitement as he yells.

“Pull it back up, Daddy!  See what we got!”

I smile and force myself not to stop and watch.  As I pass them, I see the Dad settle back on the bench with one arm around the boy and the other hand on the fishing rod.  And I hear his calm, patient reply.  “No, son.  This is a patient man’s game.”

I kept walking, but I knew I had heard the voice of God.

Several minutes later, down at the shoreline, I stood shin-deep in the surf and looked out at the clear blue horizon…  And I talked back to God…

I repented. I’ve never been a patient person.  Not with circumstances.  And not with people.  I have my own schedule and agenda in my head.  When circumstances and people don’t conform to it, I get easily frustrated.  But when that Daddy spoke to his little boy, I heard my Father speak to me.  “No, Sarah.  Life is a patient man’s game.”

I received God’s promises anew again. I have dreams, but God has bigger dreams for me than I do.  And He has promised those things to me.  When they don’t come right away, I can’t give up.  He has bigger things in store for me than I ever dreamed of.  All I have to do is wait for them.

About Sarah Salter


  1. WOW! What a message! Thanks for posting this….I am not a patient person, either! This really spoke to me!

  2. Ashley H says:

    Wow. That really made me realize that I tend to not be too patient. But who likes to find their own flaws…not me! Its amazing what we can learn just from observing everyday people in an everyday world!

  3. Barbara says:

    Thanks for that cause you know me I am a “gitter done” type myself.. This and something else yesterday reminded me that I can’t give up either on circumstances or people.


  4. Vanessa says:

    Great message Sarah! I’m sure God gets flustered with us for giving up so easily when his blessings are usually right aound the corner.

  5. Patience? Ugh. Not my strong suit. But it’s one of those things God seems intent on teaching me, no matter what I might think.

    And the beach? YES. Nothing calms me like the sight of the ocean.

Speak Your Mind