2012-01: Waiting For My Fish to Come In
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I'm waiting for my fish to come in. 

You’re probably thinking, “Ummm…girl, I think you mean ‘...waiting for your ship to come in,’ aren’t you?”  Yes, I know that’s the usual saying, but no – I’m waiting for my fish. 

Now, I actually don’t like eating fish and going fishing is not one of my past-times (in fact I think the last time I went fishing was when I was in primary school), but I do enjoy the ‘fishy’ stories in the Bible.  Ever notice that there are heaps of good fishing tales in there?  And they’re not about how big the one that got away was either!

I was grabbed by one such story a few months back and thought it pertinent as we start a new year. It’s found in Matthew 17:24-27 and is about a discussion Peter and Jesus had about paying tax.  It’s only a short few verses, but there are heaps of great lessons to be gleaned, some of which I’ve heard preached.  However, the aspect that struck me most recently was the fish component of this account.  I encourage you to read it for yourself, but in summary…

In order to pay the temple tax, Jesus told Simon Peter to go to the lake, cast a line and pull in the first fish that took the line.  He told Peter that in its mouth, he would find a coin – sufficient to pay the tax for both of them.

Now, that’s impressive on so many levels:

1. The miracle of supernatural provision.

2. The lack of complication in attaining that being sought.

3. The faith and obedience Peter exhibited in carrying out Jesus’ instructions without question.

4. The gift of generosity in also covering Peter’s tax.

All Jesus asked Peter to do was a task with which he was well familiar and comfortable – go fish!  Remember, Peter’s former vocation was exactly that – a fisherman.   Add to that, Peter didn’t have to fish and fish and wait and fish and then ferret through a pile to find the one fish which contained the coin.  No scavenger hunt or needle-in-a-haystack endeavour was necessary; it was the first fish that took the hook.  Where Peter’s effort was found was in exercising his faith to believe Jesus’ words and to act on Jesus’ instruction.

God supernaturally provided for both Jesus and Peter as they individually did what came ‘naturally’ to them – Jesus as the Son of God, Peter as a fisherman.

So I was challenged…what was the ‘fish’ I was believing for?  What were my fishing instructions?  And at what level was my faith and obedience regarding how God can and will provide?  Just this week, God again challenged me about the level my ‘believe-meter’ was at, and if I was actually positioning myself to receive that for which I am believing.

It would have done Peter no good to believe Jesus’ words with mental assent, if he hadn’t positioned himself at that lake, posed and expecting to receive.  Sometimes the issue for we Christians, is not whether or not we believe God can supernaturally do something for us, but questioning how He will do it, and if He will do it for us.

Reflecting on the four points I mentioned previously, we find that:

1. God desires to and does provide for His children – and He does it in a variety of ways and means. 

2. Sometimes, through human striving, self-effort, bound mindsets, and unbelieving hearts, we complicate matters.

3. At times, God gives us seemingly strange instructions that we don’t understand with our heads, yet it twinges something in our spirits.  It’s here that we have the opportunity to activate faith and trust.

4. God is a generous God and encourages us to be the same – not only financially, but also with things like encouragement, hospitality, forgiveness, grace, patience….

So as we embark on a new year, following the example of Peter, why not enjoy a good yarn with your Heavenly Father?  I encourage you to ask the same questions that I, too, am seeking God about and asking of myself:

Is there a particular fish God is asking you to believe for?  If so, what is it?  Is your headspace framed in such a way that you would be prepared for Him to do it in a supernaturally natural way?  Have you sought Him about what you are to do?  Are you posed in an expectant attitude?  And have you taken up the tools and the position He’s leading you to?

We’re not told how long Peter had to wait for that first fish to bite; and I’m mindful that sometimes the wait time is longer for some than for others.  Irrespective, I pray that we will keep posed and positioned, enjoying the Lord of the lakeshore while we wait for our fish to come in.

Happy Fishing!



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