Monday, September 9, 2013

Feeding fish

Yesterday morning, while visiting my friend Steve and his family, we got up a couple of hours before we had to be at church. It was a relaxing morning; we grabbed a cup of coffee and went out to the back yard to sit and relax.

And feed fish.

Steve has a small manmade fish pond in the yard, and currently there are about seven fish living in it. It is a marvelous environment and very relaxing to watch. There is a stream flowing down a hill that recirculates the water, and there is a very nice collection of plant life in and around the pond. Very nice.

As we sat there and and Steve threw pieces of fish food into the pond, he explained some things about the pond. For one thing, the fish could probably do okay feeding off the plant life, but it's fun to sit there and watch them while feeding. Let's see, what else? Oh yeah...
  • The plant life was placed there by humans, 
  • The chemical content is managed by humans, adjusted whenever it gets out of balance and threatens the livability of the pond,
  • The water flow was established by humans,
  • Steve periodically prunes the pond of excess vegetation.
  • Five of the seven fish were placed there, and the other two were born in the pond,
  • Etc.
Now, imagine for a moment that you are one of the fish. You have no idea how the pond got there, how it is maintained, why there is always food, and how it stays a good place to live. Now, for the most part the environment plugs along with natural forces maintaining it - plant growth, water flow, etc. But every now and then, the owner intervenes and makes sure things are okay. You are a fish - you don't know when. All you know is that it works.

When it comes to creation, the Creator's ways are so much higher than ours. We want to understand everything. What is a miracle? How often do they happen? How much of what goes on is the result of God just letting his creation work, and how much is intervention?

What if we just accepted that, when it comes to understanding God, we are like the fish? Actually, the gap between us and God is so much wider than that. I am convinced that he is sovereign and paying attention to every detail of our universe and, yes, my life. Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-32 (italics mine):
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
There is no way for us to understand how. Or separate it into the "natural" and the "miraculous." But we can know that it is true. Just as my friend makes sure that the pond is functioning properly and takes care of his fish, God is doing the same for us. We can trust that he is there, watching over us, with a loving heart we cannot even imagine.

I guess our worship yesterday started way before we got to church. What a God!

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