A Fish Story

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.                                                                                                Psalm 103: 11-13

Stop me if you’ve heard this one… on second thought, don’t. I have shared this story in various places and in various ways, but I think it bears repeating. If you haven’t heard it before, so much the better.

Many years ago, my son and I built a pond in our back yard. It was a good one. In fact, it was so good that it was two ponds, with a bog area in between the ponds. As winter approached, we decided that the fish in the smaller, shallower pond would need the depth of the larger pond to survive the winter freeze.

Sometime in November, I took a small net and tried to remove the small fish to transfer them into the larger pond for their own protection. Of course, the little fish did not see the value in that, and they resisted my attempts to catch them with great vigor (and success I might add).

During this escapade, it struck me that people are sort of like those little fish who resisted the change of environment. They were used to the little pond- the only world they knew. To change that would be devastating for them. Of course, my intent was only for their good, their safekeeping.

 I put myself into the mind of God for a moment. “I’m only looking out for their good, and they resist me at every turn”. How must God look at us as we resist change that is only for our benefit? I pitied the plight of the poor fish in their resistance. However, I persisted, and I caught them, transferred them to the larger pond, and they survived the winter ice.

I have used this story at funerals, to point out that final translation to heaven is for good- eternal life. Of course, desiring life, we resist that change with ferocity, and understandably so. But change is often what we need, even when we are resisting it because the present reality is all we know. God knows our need, and he wants the best for us.

Even when we do not fully understand it.

Prayer: Lord, you understand our thinking, and love us, even in our resistance, Amen

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