Larry and I have a 65 gallon aquarium that we really enjoy. Maintenance is time consuming but the joy of watching the community of fish everyday is so worth it. We have at least a dozen Africa cichlids, two clown loaches, a red tale shark, a Plecostomus, and a blue gourami that shouldn’t be in the mix but refuses to give up.
Every few months one of the female cichlids will start holding eggs in her mouth. This species of fish is called mouth-brooders because the female protects the fertilized eggs in her mouth until the little fish hatch. During this three week period she hides out and does not eat. Once the fry is hatched, they disperse into the tank and fight for survival. Most do not survive but a few will hide and grow into maturity. The newborns are about an eighth of an inch while their community of predators are about four inches in size.
We recently discovered three survivors and we were so excited that life had found a way. We have been watching them and learning about their survival tactics. It has been a lesson in spiritual growth and victory.
The babies are clear to opaque in color which allows them to blend into the water. No dark spots or color gives them away to other fish who are looking for a meal. Their clarity allows the light to flow through their body and protects them from danger.
The younglings hide in the cleft of the rocks where they are safe from the larger fish. It’s a small, safe, intimate place where they can grow and mature. Too little to fight off a predator in their own strength, they seek refuge in the rock crevices in the tank.
The hungry fry dart out at feeding time to eat the little flakes that sink down to the rocks. In wisdom they don’t feed on the top with the big fish were flakes and pellets abound. They simply wait for the food to come to their area of the tank and feast on what the others have missed.
We rejoice everyday with their survival and growth. It’s much the same way with our heavenly father who rejoices everyday with our endurance and increase. Love always cheers on the object of its affection. So, God’s love for us is always cheering on our success in this evil time we live in.
Philippians 2:12-18 NLT, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing,that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” Like the baby fish, when we hide in the light, clean and clear of sin, our enemies have a hard time seeing us.
Psalms 27:1-5 NKJV, speaks of hiding in the cleft of the rock. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies, and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” Like the baby fish, when we hide in Jesus we are safe and protected.
Part of “Mary’s song” in Luke 1 declares the Lords willingness to feed those who are hungry. Luke 1:52-53, NKJV “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.” Like the baby fish who watch for the food that floats down to them, God’s faithfulness always takes care of those in need of food.
What a wonderful, forgiving, protecting and nurturing God we serve!