The process may seem a bit unsettling as the Lord moves us into new pastures and makes a way for the gifts He has given to be poured out upon all to whom He sends us. We get used to our current situation or smaller tank, just as a Betta fish. While at the store last night, my husband and I saw a Betta sadly living in a small plastic container. This little fish was waiting to move into his next season of life. We bought him up and on the way home to his larger tank God taught me a valuable parallel to my own life. As I held the Betta’s small container he seemed flustered, for his water was agitated and all the sediments on the bottom of the container were now surrounding him. I had a larger tank at home with a little cave, fresh water, and even a bamboo plant for him to enjoy but this little fish could not possibly imagine all these good things I had prepared for him. All he was focused on was the filth in his small container that was stirred up. In a moment I grasped what God was teaching me in my own life.
God may stir us up and makes us restless in our lives before He brings us to what He has prepared. We may also feel a bit panicky to leave those comfortable places we’ve come to know, even though it’s not our destiny – there is more. We may find we are ushered into unknown regions where we can put no confidence in our flesh, when all we can do is trust in God – GREAT! That is exactly how we should live every moment of our lives. What an adventure! We may also come face to face with all our filth as we come closer to His light and glory, for He cannot leave us unprepared for the next step but refines all the dross out to make us useful vessels.
Maybe we were like this Betta and were swimming wildly in a large habitat, but suddenly found ourselves caught and placed into a smaller tank where our resources were limited and our gifts and talents without channels to be fully poured out. Take heart, for when Christ reigns us in He does so for our good. Perhaps if we continued on as we were it would have meant our destruction, but for our refinement. Maybe we were unknowingly causing harm to others and He needed to refine us a bit more, remove the high titles of men, decrease our influence for a time, or maybe rid us of pride and self-dependence. Do not despise the season of a smaller tank – though we may feel like we are just put on a shelf He has plans for us. As we submit to Him, when all is ready, He will bring us into our tank of most usefulness.
We move on with Christ, from strength to strength. All we do is rest in Him and cry out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me? Praise God, through Jesus Christ. For He is the author and perfecter of our faith.” He will lead us on into the bigger tanks in which we can glorify Him as we swim and frolic right where He desires us to be.
- “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.” Psalm 73:1-28