Training the Fish

Enjoying the tropical paradise of a Hawaiian resort during a recent vacation meant visiting a lava koi pond every time my husband, Richard, and I walked from the parking lot to our room.   Whenever anyone would approach its edge, the fish would gracefully race over to them.

The child in me gleefully enjoyed thinking this was their way of saying “hello” back to all who stopped to relish their multihued beauty.  But the adult in me knew that their behavior was based on one thing:  a desire for food.  Even though they were probably only fed once a day, the koi had learned the presence of people meant the possibility of food.

Much like Pavlov’s dogs, they equated people with whatever fine cuisine koi love.  So they quickly left their tranquil exploration of the pond to gather wherever people were standing.  Their zeal was contagious. With a similar eagerness and anticipation, I want to seek the presence of God, creating a wake behind me as I earnestly reach out to my Creator.

But unlike the koi, I want to drop the “What’s in it for me?” attitude.  Instead, I long to reside in the presence of God.  Psalm 32:10 states that “The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts Him.” It is true that in the presence of God, I slip the disappointments and stresses of this life, but that is pale in comparison to basking in the priceless abundance of God’s unfailing love.

God loves us so much He leaves plentiful clues teaching us about His character…to give us hope, to reveal His grace and offer deliverance.  Portraits of Him abound – not just brightly colored fish in a tropical pond.  Encountering the presence of God in our daily lives is of singular significance.  It is an awesome, unmistakable experience. Similar to the koi’s hungering for food, my spiritual longing should include the holiness of God.

Often times my life with God does not feel like the feast my koi friends anticipate. That is my failure, not His.  My journey towards God should be one of feast, not famine…secure in the knowledge that “His love reaches to the heavens and his faithfulness to the skies.”  (Psalm 36:5-6)

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