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The Catfish In Our Tank

The Catfish In Our Tank

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NKJV)

I once heard a story about codfish and it goes something like this.  Somewhere around the turn of the century cod were very much in demand on the east coast.  As the news about this fish made its way across to the west coast it became highly sought after there as well.  Unfortunately by the time the cod had traveled across the entire country they were no longer fresh.  A plan was devised to ship the fish frozen on a train, but this too proved unsuccessful, as they were mushy and tasteless.  

Someone decided to study the codfish and found they had a natural predator in a species of ocean catfish.  So a plan was devised to put the cod into some large saltwater aquariums and add a few catfish to each tank of cod.  Evidently adding the catfish was successful as they kept the cod on red alert chasing them around in the tanks from coast to coast.  This time the cod were fresh, flaky and had great flavor. 

Now I cannot validate this story but I do find it to have a greater value than an amusing tale or even a potential fresh dinner.  You see, we all have probably had a catfish or two thrown into our tanks (surroundings).  God will allow Satan to send people into our lives who will challenge us and cause us to keep on our toes.  It can be someone who tempts us to conform to this world, or the values of this world.  It can be a relative, neighbor or friend who seems to have a knack for annoying us.  It can be a co-worker or even an employer who seems to have it in for us.  

The thing we must remember is there is an opportunity for us to live out our faith because of them.  It doesn't matter whether we are annoyed, aggravated, hurt, or tempted by them, in each situation God has a perfect plan for us.  It may result in our simply showing them grace (unmerited favor).  It may mean we are to pray for them or with them.  It may mean we are to simply be a light when in their company but abstain from seeking any deeper relationship.  The point is God has a plan.  We may not understand it at the time, but if we seek the Lord, He will show us what we are to do.  

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

It is my heart to encourage you today to think upon these things.  Let's seek the Lord for every relationship we are contemplating.  Let's look at those who have caused us to stumble as an opportunity for us to grow in our faith.  Let's choose to ask God to show us how we are to live before the catfish in our lives.  God won't give us more than we are able to bear without providing a way of escape so let's seek Him and His word to find His will as our primary escape route.  

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalms 32:8 (NKJV)

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures in this devotional, what can we learn about God's plans for us and our responsibility to seek Him for His will?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Is there someone in your life who resembles the catfish in this story?  Are you willing to allow God to teach and transform you as a result of how they treat you?

APPLICATION: Let's choose to trust God no matter what we may be going through.  He has a plan and He will use everything to accomplish His will for our lives. 

Let's Pray...

Father, thank You for teaching us.  Thank You for the people in my life who have been catfish.  Thank You for teaching me patience, discernment and even how to love unconditionally.  Help me to be the person You have called me to be and to see the opportunity to be used.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000