I ended up with a pet fish last month. Friends, I have a horrible history with pet fish. Seriously. Once, I cooked my goldfish. I didn’t realize my mom had just washed the dishes with burning hot water. I filled a cup, unknowingly, with scalding water and carefully transferred my goldfish into it so I could clean his bowl. Within seconds, this doomed fish turned upside down, his scales white.
Poor fish. I don’t even remember his name.
But when my sweet 8-year-old daughter ran into the pet store with her daddy for dog food (only dog food!), she came back to the car proudly carrying a fish in a cup.
Bursting with pride, she said, “Mommy! Me and Daddy bought you a pet fish!”
“Oh! Why?” I answered through a fake smile and gritted teeth.
“Because! Isn’t he so pretty? And, he was on sale!”
Well then, if he was on sale…I’d love to have another dirty animal to care for on top of the dog, the bunny, and two leopard geckos.
“Oh, thank you sweet girl. He is super pretty.”
So here I was, once again, with the task of caring for a gilled creature. His name was London. My daughter was right. He was lovely for a fish with long, flowing fins circling all around him.
Two weeks in, London stopped eating. He sulked at the bottom of his bowl; his fins looked burdened and heavy. The poor thing was even speckled with funky, white spots. I actually felt sad! I needed to find out if I could help London.
For one thing, he was a gift from my daughter.
Secondly, I wanted to somehow redeem myself for murdering ‘what’s-his-name’ all those years ago.
I googled, “What to do if a Betta fish gets sick,” and then I went to the pet store and bought special water drops. Our family prayed for him before dinner. It was a whole thing.
While washing dishes a few days later, something caught my attention. A bright blue, poetic-like thrashing called me over to London’s bowl. He was at the water’s surface, fins fanned and dancing around his body. He was hungry! I dropped one stinky fish food pellet in at a time. He literally jumped up out of the water to catch the first one. He was ravenous! I couldn’t help but smile as London shimmied and waited intently for more. He was back to his healthy self.
Believe it or not, God’s Spirit spoke to me as I fed this silly, little fish. He’s been chasing me down with a verse from the Psalms for months. It’s been in worship songs and every podcast I’ve decided to turn on.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (Psalm 34:8, KJV).
My response to this verse had been, “Yes, Lord, I know You are good!” But, as I watched how breathtaking this fish was in his hunger, a deeper truth whispered to me.
Just as London had become gorgeous in his hunger, we are gorgeous in our Father’s eyes when we hunger for Him. He is longing for us to hover at the top of every moment, intently waiting to receive Him.
If we want to taste the full goodness of God, we must first be hungry for Him. Not just hungry but ravenous. Ravenous for His Word, His presence, His direction, His love. We must be swimming to the top of our prayer life, jumping out in faith to taste His goodness.
If God looks upon me and I’m sulking at the bottom of my day—with no desire to taste His goodness and no desire to be nourished by His Word—it’s an indication that I’m spiritually sick.
How can we taste God’s goodness if we are not coming to His table to eat? And why would we come to His table if we aren’t hungry? We’re not called to go to His table as an afterthought. We wouldn’t insult a host by filling up on a meal we cooked ourselves before going to their home for dinner. In the same way, we owe God our full appetite.
What was I filling my soul with before coming to the Lord’s table? Was I leaving only enough space in my spiritual stomach for a small sampling of the Lord’s goodness?
Our mighty God is not an appetizer. He is not a dessert with which we finish our day.
His very Word, His presence, and His love is to be the Bread that sustains us all day, every day. Nothing else. The Lord will only fill us with what we’ve made room for. The more we come to be filled by Him, the higher and fuller the filling will be.
Just like London’s movement at the top of his bowl made me put down my sponge and watch, when we’re ravenous for the Lord, people notice. London is healthy, full of color and life. This is how God intended him to be, and in the same way, God has designed His children to make the world stop and stare. The world should look at God’s children and ask, “What are they so hungry for? What makes them so passionate that they would jump up out of the mire of life to reach for more?” Then we can pull up a chair and invite them to taste and see that the Lord is good.
My husband teases me, “God wanted to teach you to have “blue fish faith.”
Cute. But if he buys me another fish, it’s going in the frying pan. Just sayin’.
Are you hungry for God today? How can you perhaps be more intentional about tasting His goodness in this current season?
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