[Fade from Black] Camera pans from a calm sea to the prow of a small fishing boat. Voices speaking Spanish in the background as a man walks the beach toward the vessel. As he comes into focus, he is not dressed for fishing and appears to be looking for something. The scene turns with his gaze, sweeping the ocean and then spying a dock further down the beach, the camera follows him as he walks toward it, away from the boat. [Title]
Stories that appear separated that intertwine to lead to an intersection unexpected by the audience are a Hollywood staple. Better yet are divine stories of lives brought together by The Director. Such is the The Fourth Fisherman, the tale of four lives transformed by circumstance unforeseen when the first steps were taken. Author Joe Kissack recounts how his life of Hollywood success led him to the fishing villages in Mexico while a group of impoverished Mexican pescadores was simply trying to survive the ordeal of being lost at sea for ten months. A growing faith in God brings them together in the port town.
Kissack’s trajectory was taking him higher and higher on the success ladder. He had money, power and prestige. He was also medicating himself, burning himself out on the treadmill of the television industry trying to keep one step ahead. Though he has the outward trappings of success, he finds himself empty inside, wrestling with impressions of inferiority left by his father and the demands of trying to have it all. Ultimately, he cannot, setting the crisis stage for an encounter with Jesus.
The alternate path through life is portrayed through the lives of five Mexican fisherman who set out on a trip that soon turns bad, leaving them adrift in the Pacific for months on end. Death, hunger and despair challenge them while their faith grounds them, giving them the hope needed to continue scanning the horizon for any sign of rescue. When a ship finally sees them bobbing on the waves little energy remains in the party for celebration.
Kissack skillfully weaves these two threads together to show how God arranged for them to intersect. Though the full ending remains to be written, the story is an inspiration for those wondering about the purpose of their personal crucibles. God doesn’t waste our struggles. They serve a purpose in His larger story, and we only pray that we have sufficient awareness to see that purpose further on down our own road.