I re-discovered a story about a man who netted three trout from a mountain stream and carefully placed them side-by-side on a thick patch of grass. Before he removed them from the water, they were like a liquid ballet in motion. Fluid. Graceful. Vibrant. Alive.  After he netted them, it was another story. As the trout lay on the grass, they were motionless. Their eyes were fixed. They gasped for air, and they looked and acted stupid.
The man noticed they seemed unhappy, so he talked to them, hoping that his encouragement would change them.  “Little fish, don’t be sad. You’ll like the grass. Just try it out for a while.”
No movement. No response. No change. A few more seconds passed. The man’s neighbor walked by. “Hey, Bob! Come and check out these fish!”
Bob walked over and the man explained that he was certain the fish could adjust. “I’m sure they could prosper here on the grass. Don’t you agree?” “Why not?” Bob replied. So he also tried to tell the fish it would be good if they learned to like the grass. After all, he liked the grass. Why shouldn’t they? Still, the fish didn’t blink. They just lay there looking dumber by the second.
Finally, a little boy approached and exclaimed, “What are you doing? Put them back! They can’t be all they’ve been created to be when they are out of the water.”
I’ll admit that somedays I feel like I’m out of the water. On those kind of days it doesn’t feel like much gets accomplished or enough “calls” are made. I go home exhausted with little to show for it, at least that’s how it feel. Now, I’m pretty aware of the variety of factors involved in “being out of the water,” including a virus along with all the internal and relational ramifications that it brings into my everyday choices. There in the way back of my aging brain, I hear the words of scripture “but I press on…” I am a person with purpose. I am created to live out my identity. Perhaps that’s sounds a bit teenagerish (not a word) but I choose to let it ring in my being. I am reminded of a quote by Rev. Richard Halverson, who served as the chaplain of the Senate from the early 80s until the mid-90s. I’m not sure it’s an exact quote but it goes something like.  “You go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is with you. Wherever you are God has put you there.” Wherever you are – out of the water, lost, found, wandering and wavering, struggling, surviving or succeeding — each one of us always has purpose. You always have opportunity to do great things.

Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:13-14
Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Reflection Questions:
What are you most looking forward to when the “all clear”
has been sounded?
What has been putting strain on you?
What great things will you do today?

Prayer: Holy God, today let me do something that points to you.  That would make it a great day. Amen.

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