A month ago, my daughter’s cat died, the cat she slept with every night, and, since we knew it would be a few weeks until we got her a new one, I ran out and bought her a fish. I wanted her to have a pet she could watch to help her fall asleep. I got a beta fish because they’re supposed to be impossible to kill. Did I say impossible? Make that almost impossible.
She named him Fishy. Two weeks passed. We got the new cat, and everything was fine … until last week when Fishy wasn’t looking so hot. Little movement, lots of floating. I’m no fish expert, but it looked to me like he’d go belly up any minute. I figured my daughter had already learned her lesson about death and loss, and I wasn’t about to put her through it again over a fish, so I did what any good father would do: I prepared an elaborate deception.
The next day I checked Fishy one last time before I left for work and found him floating in his castle. With everyone busy with the new cat, I knew no one would notice Fishy taking a “nap,” and that would buy me the time I needed. I slipped out on my lunch break, bought a new and improved Fishy and sneaked him home ready to make the switch.
That’s when the miracle occurred. During my morning at work, Fishy was resurrected from the dead. OK, technically it was probably a near-death experience. But all I know was when I left that morning, it looked like he was pushing up daisies, or rather seaweed. When I got home, he was swimming laps like Michael Phelps.
That’s how I ended up with two fish, Fishy and the unnamed secret standby fish hanging out in a bowl in my bedroom. Sometimes miracles aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Maybe God did this to teach me a lesson about avoiding death. Maybe He just didn’t want me to lie to my kids. Or maybe He still has important work for Fishy to do. Whatever the case, it was a great reminder for me that all too often I live my life expecting the worst-case scenario that may be waiting around the next corner, when what I know about God should always point me toward hope.
Romans 15:13 calls God the “God of hope” and says that He will fill us with joy and peace and make us overflow with hope if we trust in Him. Does my life overflow with hope? Or am I more of a gloom-and-doom kind of guy? If I’m not filled with hope, the Bible says I’m not trusting God. Trusting God doesn’t mean I think He’s going to protect me from every bad circumstance, though sometimes He certainly does. It just means that I believe I can count on Him to walk me through whatever comes my way.
I trust His character. I know He’s for me, not against me. I believe that He can take all the junk in my life — all the struggle, all the heartache, all the mistakes — and work it together for my good and the good of those around me. If I truly believe that kind of God is running the universe, how could I do anything but hope?
So, the next time my life’s looking green around the gills, maybe I won’t be so hasty to jump to pessimistic conclusions. When my future appears murky, I hope I’ll remember hope and the God whose faithfulness gives me reason to believe.