Jesus, Faith, and Fish
Have you ever noticed in the New Testament, when fish are involved, that Jesus is ultimately teaching about faith? Think about it—Jesus fed the five thousand with fish and bread (Matt 14:13-21); He did the same thing with four thousand on a different occasion (Matt 15:29-39); He caused the disciples’ nets to overflow with fish after a long day of unsuccessful work (Lk 5:1-8); and He provided a fish with money in its mouth for Peter to pay the tribute tax (Matt 17:24-27). These are faith-growing experiences at their finest.
Since God is the Creator of all things, He can use His created things to challenge the faith of His children. I believe God uses His creation on a daily basis to reveal Himself to us and to help us reflect on Him. Psalm 19 affirms this: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands…” What a good God we serve, that He desires for us to see His hand at work through His handiwork.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to share with my oldest son, who is five, how God uses His creation to teach us about faith. While on our family vacation, my kids and I were swimming in the ocean. As we waded out into deeper water, I kept jumping, and squealing, which got the attention of my kids. They were intrigued as to why their mom was acting so weird. I explained that little fish kept nibbling at my feet. Well, that got their excitement level up! They wanted to see the fish. They begged and pleaded for me to show them the fish. I told them to wait for a calm in between waves, and the water would smooth out some, allowing them to see clearly. To no avail, the rapid waves did not provide us a clear view of the little creatures they so greatly wanted to see.
Quickly, my five-year-old lifted up a prayer to God, “God, please stop the waves so we can see the fish.” I responded, “You are right! God has the power to stop the waves. Remember the story when Jesus calmed the storm, when He and the disciples were in the boat? He IS the creator of the waves, and He commands them, but I don’t think He’ll stop them for you to see the fish.” With a puzzled look, he responded, “Why not?
I truly believe at that very moment, God heard my son’s question, and wanted to grow my faith right then and there by asking me, “Yeah, why not?” Here is what I mean, immediately after his prayer, and our conversation, a beautiful fish with blue and yellow stripes popped up right in front of us, as almost looking at us. Time seemed to freeze for a few moments. As we looked at the fish which was staring back at us, my son, with his child-like faith, said the most profound statement, “Mommy, instead of stopping the waves; God told that fish, ‘Go play with Gryder!'”
My son and I believed God brought the fish to him because he believed through faith God could do the impossible and stop the waves. Some might say it was a coincidence, but I truly believe it was one of those quiet teaching moments when God was a making point. Tears filled my eyes as I pondered the faith my son portrayed. I was in awe that, again, God continues to give us opportunities through His creation to grow our faith, and to have tangible moments to teach our children about Him. I was broken by my lack of faith, and encouraged by my son’s child-like faith.
I had had a “fish faith growing experience” just like the stories we read in the Bible, and I was reminded of three things.
God is always at work in and through His creation.
He did not create and then leave us to our own devices. He is teaching us, and revealing His glory through His majestic creation, reminding us to slow down, and to reflect on who He is, and what He is capable of doing. Not only is He teaching us, but He is also admonishing us to go and share His majesty with our children and others.
Be ready at any moment to talk about the things of God to your children, as you go about your day.
Being ready to share with anyone about the things of God, should be our utmost priority. But at this moment, I was reminded to fulfill my role as a God-fearing mother, and teach my son about his Creator. Second Timothy 4:2 talks of this very thing, “Preach [proclaim] the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This is a tough challenge in our “gotta-be-busy” world, but it is something of great importance that we must not take lightly.
God uses our children to refine, and teach us.
I believe God uses our children to show us our lack of faith; or our sin of anger; or our need for a deeper, stronger prayer life. You name it—there are so many things God can show us about ourselves through our children. He can reveal the sin that manifests in our heart within the role of “Mom” and refine our faith. We know through Scripture, that God holds children in high regard, and encourages us to follow their lead in the area of faith. Child-like faith is God’s desire for us.
God used something as simple as a fish to challenge my faith. I encourage you to slow down, and be aware of the “fish” God presents you and take the opportunity to exalt Him, teach others about Him, and allow Him to challenge your faith.