I ended up with a pet fish last month. I say “ended up,” because I did not want, ask for, or like this fish. I actually do not like fish unless they have been grilled, fried or baked. I certainly do not like them looking bored in a bowl on the kitchen counter. But my sweet eight year old daughter has her daddy wrapped around his caring finger. So when the two of them ran into the pet store to grab dog food, she came back to the car proudly carrying a fish in a cup.
“Mommy! Me and Daddy bought you a pet fish!”
“Because! Isn’t he so pretty? And, he was on sale!”
Well, then, if he was on sale…I would love to have another dirty animal to care for -on top of the dog, the bunny, and two leopard geckos.
“Oh, thank you, Sweet Girl. He is super pretty.”
I have a horrible history with pet fish. Seriously. Once I cooked my goldfish. I didn’t realize my mom had just washed the dishes with burning hot water. I filled a cup unknowingly with scalding water and carefully transfered my goldfish into it so I could clean his bowl. Within seconds, this doomed fish turned upside down, his scales white.
Poor fish. I don’t even remember his name.
So here I was, once again with the task of caring for a gilled creature. His name is London. My daughter is right. He is really pretty. London is a Betta fish with long, flowing fins circling all around him.
Two weeks in, London stopped eating. He sulked at the bottom of his bowl. His fins looked burdened and heavy. He had weird white spots. I actually felt sad! I needed to find out if I could help London. I had a responsibility to keep this fish alive.
For one thing, it was a gift from my daughter.
Second, I wanted to somehow redeem myself for murdering what’s-his-name all those years ago.
I Googled, “What to do if Betta fish gets sick.” I went to the pet store, bought special water drops for his water. We prayed for him as a family at dinner.
While washing dishes a few days later, something caught my attention. A bright blue, poetic-like thrashing called me to London’s bowl. He was at the water’s surface, fins fanned and dancing around his body. He was hungry! I dropped one small fish food pellet in at a time. He literally jumped up out of the water to catch the first one. He was ravenous. He shimmied and waited intently for more. He was healthy again.
Believe it or not, God’s Spirit spoke to me as I fed this silly little fish. He has been chasing me down with a verse from the Psalms for months. It’s been in random worship songs I chose to listen to for the first time, and every podcast I’ve decided to turn on. My daughter even wrote her own devotional using the same verse. When I cleaned out the garage last week, I opened a devotional and on the top of the page was this same verse…again.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” Psalm 34:8
My response to His prompting through this verse had been, “Yes, Lord, I know You are good. You are so good.” But, as I watched how breathtaking this fish was when he was hungry, deeper truth whispered to me. Just as London had become gorgeous in his hunger, we are gorgeous in our Father’s eyes when we hunger for Him. He is longing for us to hover at the top of every moment, intently waiting to receive from Him.
In order for me to truly taste the full goodness of God, I must first be hungry for Him. Not just hungry, but ravenous. Ravenous for His Word, His presence, His direction, His love. I must be swimming to the top of my prayer life, jumping out in faith to taste His goodness.
If God looks upon me and I’m sulking at the bottom of my day – with no desire to taste His goodness, no desire to be nourished by His Word – it is an indication that I am spiritually sick.
How can we taste of God’s goodness if we are not coming to His table to eat? And, why would we come to His table if we weren’t hungry? We are not called to come to His table as an afterthought. We would not insult a host by filling up on a meal we cooked ourselves before we went to their home for dinner. In the same way, we owe God our full appetite. What had I been filling my soul with BEFORE coming to the Lord’s table? Was I leaving only enough space in my spiritual stomach for a small sampling of the Lord’s goodness?
Our mighty God is not an appetizer.
He is not a dessert to finish our day with.
His very Word, His presence, His love is to be the bread that sustains me all day, every day. Nothing else. The more we eat, the more our stomachs stretch. The Lord will only fill us with what we have made room for. The more we come to be filled by Him, the greater and fuller the filling will become. Our stomachs will grow, our appetites will multiply.
As we become more ravenous for the Lord, those around us take notice. Just like London’s movement at the top of his bowl made me put down my sponge and watch. London is healthy, full of color and life. This is how God intended him to be.
God has designed His children to make the world stop and stare. The world should look at God’s children and ask, “What are they so hungry for? What makes them so passionate that they would jump up out of the mire of life to reach for more?” And, when others ask, we will have an answer for them. Not only an answer, but we will pull up a chair and invite them to taste and see that the Lord is good.
My husband teases me, “God wanted to teach you to have blue fish faith”.
Cute. But if he buys me another fish, it’s going in the frying pan. Just sayin’.