You shouldn’t ask us to fish-sit.
We are not reliable.
We’ve had 3 (count them aloud 1, 2, 3) beta fish that are no longer. Don’t laugh…let me explain.
Beta fish number one: his name was Rico. He was adopted into our family when I married my husband. Our big kids were young and just loved the idea of a pet, but we were a busy family (and you see where this is going), so his bowl was rarely cleaned.
When we did get around to cleaning the bowl, we always felt so accomplished.
My husband and I are inspectors. We can regularly be found admiring any “work” we’ve completed. So, it’s no surprise that we went back to admire how clean the fish bowl was, and much to our surprise the fish wasn’t in the bowl. For real. No Rico.
This fine story ends when my husband directs my attention to the hearth. Sadly, there was Rico all. dried. out. His clean bowl really did thrill him…and apparently we filled the bowl just a little too high making his jumping fatal.
Fish funeral number one.
Beta fish number two: his name was Rico Jr. (we aren’t all that creative with pet names). He was a replacement…our rebound fish. It won’t surprise you that we purchased a bowl with a lid this time.
Shortly after becoming ours, we noticed Rico Jr. was looking puny. He once boasted large flowing fins and an energy that I’ve not had since my early years. It wasn’t until my husband asked if I’d replaced the fish (never, ever a good question, but always a possibility when you have young children) that I realized we had a problem.
Curiosity gave way to concern as a closer inspection revealed white spots which had taken over his maroon and blue scales. My husband shared his fear that we might lose Rico to “Ich” (a protozoan parasite).
A parasite is defined as a
Ich is an indicator that a fish has an improperly functioning immune system—usually because of stress. Contributing factors include: water quality, improper diet, water temperature, etc.
Once again, we’d waited too long to clean the bowl, and now Rico Jr. was in bad shape. Parasites were winning. So, although probably too late, we cleaned the bowl.
We watched and waited to see if he would improve. Rico Jr. remained still in his bowl throughout the day. One day of this decline gave way to two, which gave way to a week. Now his once full and flowing fins resembled Nemo’s “lucky fin.” The fins on top of Rico’s body had vanished making swimming and buoyancy more of a chore than something he was made to do.
One morning our daughter came into the room to report that Rico was still living, but he was on his side (other than the seafood section at the grocery store, have you seen a fish on its side?). Sad, sad sight.
Fish funeral number two.
Beta fish number three: Ed-Gar (kids were now teenagers and names became goofy). Because I suspect this sad fish tale is boring you, I’m going to get right to the point–my youngest overfed him one weekend, he ballooned and died.
Fish funeral number three.
It’s not a good idea for us to own fish.
We have learned a few things, however, through these fish “tragedies”. We learned the importance of clean, treated water for a fish. We learned that parasites are unrelenting once they appear on the fish. We also learned how to hold a sweet, quick fish funeral.
To be honest–that parasite troubled me–I couldn’t shake it. It attacked the very thing that was essential for the fish: his fins.
Sin is like a parasite.
You might not notice it right away…
Everything may seem “normal”…
But sin, like a parasite, slowly eats away at your spirit. Stress made our second fish more vulnerable to the parasite and stress makes you and me vulnerable to sin. The water was key to keeping the parasite at bay…and what we fill our lives with is critical to the sin issue we face.
Maybe it’s the company we keep…maybe it’s a long time hurt that needs healing…maybe it’s anger that needs to be released. Either way–to live in the abundance that Jesus called us to-we’ve got to deal with our issue of sin.
The answer for sin is Jesus. Plain and simple. Our very hope, in this life, is the complete work of Calvary. The defining moment when Christ suffered the full wrath on our behalf. For you and for me.
If your life is out of balance, Jesus is the answer.
If you need peace, Jesus is the answer.
If you need rest, Jesus is the answer.
If you need forgiveness, Jesus is the answer.
If you need healing, Jesus is the answer.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
If you need hope, Jesus is the answer.