Like a Goldfish in Water

They say that a goldfish doesn’t notice the water around it. That living in water is so natural and common that they take no thought of it. I wonder sometimes if the same isn’t true for us.

Could there be something about our lives that is so common that we don’t take thought of it very often? The direct metaphor between fish and us would be the air around us or the earth beneath our feet. But I think that there is something even more pervasive or even prevalent than those examples.

To perceive this “thing” we must for a moment shut off the busyness of life, push aside our preconceptions of the world around us, and lay down our previous experiences. In short, we must look past all the distractions of what we regularly see for just a moment.

So often we see the Bible, (no that’s not the “thing”) as a book of limits and boundaries. And there is some truth in that. But the Bible also describes the pervasive and prevalent “thing” that we often fail to see.

The shortest Psalm in the Bible reveals the “water” around us. “Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 117, NLT)

No one is excluded from this Psalm. It is open to all nations and all people everywhere. The Psalm identifies two great truths which we often fail to notice. God’s powerful unfailing love for us, all of us, not just some of us. And, God’s enduring faithfulness.

Still, don’t see the water? Did the sun come up this morning?  Does it rain on the just and unjust? Do seeds grow when the conditions are right? Does a smile make you smile? Yes, we can point out a thousand and one things that are wrong. Times, experiences, and examples where it seemed like God’s love and faithfulness failed. Or was that because we or someone else dirtied the water?

Open our eyes Lord to see Your unfailing love and enduring faithfulness that is all around us. A baby’s giggle. The fragrance of a flower. The colors of the dawn and dusk. The depths of the stars. The majesty of the mountains, the roar of the waves. The persistence and uniqueness of life itself. The tartness of an apple. The warmth of another’s love. The delicate balance of creation. A mother’s love. A Father’s goodness. The songs of birds. And the graceful stroke of a goldfish swimming in its fishbowl.

Dale Heinold
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