Is there a catfish in your tank?

I was driving to preschool this morning and I was listening to a pastor on christian radio preach a sermon on persecution. I almost turned it off when I heard what the topic was, who wants to talk about persecution? I certainly don’t. That’s one if those things I rather avoid, if possible. Anyway, he used a really cool illustration that I wanted to share.

There was a fishing corporation on the east coast that wanted to ship codfish to the west coast. They were having trouble doing this. First they shipped the fish dead after they caught them, but they were spoiled when they got to the west coast. Then they tried to freeze them, but they were mushy when they got there. Then they tried to ship them live, but they died before they got there. Then, they found a way that worked. The mortal enemy of the codfish is the catfish. They shipped the live codfish in a tank with a catfish and they got there alive. The fish had to keep swimming in order to stay safe from the catfish, so that kept them alive. I thought this was a really cool story. He then asked the question, do you have catfish in your tank? In other words, sometimes God puts people or situations in our lives that stress us or persecute us to keep us spiritually alive. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, what do you do? You swim, swim, swim.

I often feel like I have a catfish in my tank, I am sure you do too. I never really thought of the idea that I need that catfish in order to stay alive and growing spiritually though. I know God uses difficult situations in our lives to grow us. I can look back on my life and see that God has used the toughest times in my life to change who I am and grow me into a better person.

Our pastor at church talked yesterday about John the Baptist. John was a man who grow in favor in God’s eyes, but honestly, the world thought he was crazy and persecuted him. Do you feel as thought the world thinks you are crazy? I certainly do. I know the world looks at us with our four young kids, one of whom is of another race and asks why we would do that. I have had to answer a lot of questions from people I come in contact with about why we do what we do and why we adopted. It’s a great opportunity to talk about God. I know even those Christians around us think we are crazy at times. But just like John the Baptist, often times when those around you are nay saying and think you are crazy, you are right where God wants you to be. Just remember God uses the catfish in your tank to keep you on your spiritual toes.

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