Are You a Fish Out of Water?

A scientist wanted to develop a fish that could live outside of water. He took some healthy red herring and put them through a long process of breeding, crossbreeding, and hormone treatments. Eventually, genetic engineering produced a fish that could exist on land.

The scientist was not satisfied, however. He suspected that though the fish was capable of living on dry land, it still had a desire to be in the water. “I need to re-educate this fish,” he thought. “I need to change its very desires.” So again he went to work, this time retraining even the strongest reflexes. After a few months he had a fish that would rather die than get wet. Even humidity filled this new fish with dread.

Proud of his triumph, the scientist took the fish on tour. After a couple of days, however, an accident occurred. As the scientist was walking over a bridge, he tripped and the helpless fish fell into the river below. It quickly sank to the bottom with its eyes and gills clamped shut, afraid to move, lest it become wetter. Every instinct seemed to tell the fish it dare not breathe. Yet, within a short time, the fish had to take a breath. As it tentatively drew water into its gills, its eyes came open. After another breath of water the fins flicked. After breathing a third time, the fish wiggled with delight and darted away. It had discovered water.

Friends, though that story is fictional, it does provide a good analogy. Born with a selfish and sinful nature, and conditioned by a culture which encourages independence from God, we as human beings are much like that fish out of water. We go through life essentially ignoring God because we are afraid that getting too close to Him will prevent us from having “fun” or will make us a “religious fanatic.” We often learn to be rather content in a mundane, shallow, existence.

Yet, something inside us longs for more. Because we are created in the image of God, each of us has, as Blaise Pascal said, “a God shaped vacuum which can only be filled by God Himself.” Though we often try to fill it with other things (e.g. money, sports, career, sex, parties, friends and “fun”), we do not really find the satisfaction and joy for which we long. Thus, as Augustine prayed, “Lord, our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

C.S. Lewis described his conversion to Christianity as “surprised by joy.” When he became a believer in Jesus Christ, Lewis began to experience a joy which he had always desired, but never thought existed. He was like that fish discovering water. Many of the rest of us who are believers in Jesus can give a similar testimony. Though we have been conditioned to think that becoming a follower of Jesus Christ means the end of “fun,” it is actually the path that leads to true joy.

Friend, are you like a fish that is living out of water? If so, don’t be afraid to dive in and experience the satisfaction and joy for which you were created. I encourage you to, as God enables, turn to Jesus Christ and embrace Him as Lord and Savior. I can assure you that if you do, you will be glad you did.
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Dan Erickson