Like most people one of my favorite vacation spots is the beach. Growing up we didn’t travel much for various reasons, which I think has made me appreciate it now more than a lot of people. I saw the ocean for the first time when I was 19 years old. I remember seeing the sea go on forever and being unable to comprehend its size. I also remember thinking that all of these people had witnessed the ocean before me and how lucky they were.
I know that there are still many people who have not seen the ocean and all of its glory that God has given us. I hope that each of them are able to at some point. Each time I see the ocean again it reminds quickly of our Creator and all of His power. I feel like there is no way to witness something of that magnitude and not believe that our Earth and everything on it was not divinely planned with a purpose.
Since I was 19 I have been blessed to have visited beaches and view the ocean from many different places: New England, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Mexico, California and Hawaii. I am not listing these places to brag but to bring you up to speed with my realization. The waters at these beaches are each very different. Some have very murky, cloudy and brown water and some have crystal clear water that is almost like looking through a fish tank.
Recently we got to visit one of these beaches. Its our favorite beach, because of its white sand and perfectly see-through water and waves. I think at this point in our lives we enjoy it so much because of its security and translucent nature. We can play with our girls and see easily that no dangers are lurking or that there are no predators. The other reason we love it so much is that we can see all of nature swimming through the waters. It’s like we get to play in God’s natural aquarium.
In God’s natural aquarium one of the most interested things to me is the way that the fish swim together. They swim in schools. Usually, it is fish that are all of the same species, but not always. Sometimes there are two groups of fish swimming together. Sometimes there are random fish of other kinds mixed in with the larger school. After some research I found that there are shoals of fish and schools of fish. The shoals are groups of fish swimming together for social reasons. The schools of fish are shoals of fish swimming together in the same direction. They see a danger and they move together as a group to avoid that danger. When you watch from above the water you can see the schools move and dart around your own body sometimes as a whole group. One of the reasons that fish also school is so that they look much larger to predators to deter them from bothering them. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I think these kinds of things are pretty cool. No one has told these fish to do this, but they know to do it. They know to gather together and not scatter themselves apart to protect themselves. (www.wikepedia.com)
A few months ago I woke up early one morning with a particular Bible verse on my mind. I had not read this verse recently but I believe the Spirit gave it to me in my sleep. I was not sure what I was to do with this verse until I recently observed these fish in their “schools” not scattering.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”Matthew 12:30 NIV
This made me think about the times in my life when I was almost neutral about God. I believed. I had Jesus in my heart, just not in the front of my heart. I didn’t want to change my life or do inconvenient things to show God how I felt. I wasn’t completely for Him and I wasn’t against Him. Even now that I have given my life to Jesus there are times that my faith is tested or that I may not have the time to devout to my relationship with God. This verse has reminded me that I have to quickly get myself back on track when this happens so that I don’t “scatter”. Scattering from the “school” of trying to be Christ-like is very dangerous. This is when the enemy seeks us out more easily and tries to remove us from the school all together. He wants us to be left vulnerable.
The more I think about this verse the more direct the verse becomes. God is telling us very plainly we have to make a decision. We have to decide which side we are on. We can’t be neutral. We can’t think that just because we are not against God that we can feel safe and comfy in that decision. He wants us to gather with Him and His followers. Which school are you gathered with? Are you gathered with other Christ-followers or are you still swimming in a neutral school of fish?
There may be someone reading this that is not sure if they belong to the “school” of Christ. If this is you, please pray and reach out to someone that can help guide you as a new Christian.
This brings me to another verse that comforts me when I feel life is trying to scatter me from the school.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”Romans 8:31 NIV
Isn’t this amazing? When we decide to side with God, God is for us. He is there for us. He is our protector from the enemy. He is our shoulder to cry on. He is our Heavenly Father. He will watch over us and guide us. Who can be against us? If we stay on track and we don’t scatter too far then we will finish the race set before us and will be rewarded one day my dear friends.
Have a BLESSED Day!