Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lessons from a Puffer Fish

What a lesson I learned from a puffer fish.  I saw, firsthand, what I act like sometimes.

It wasn't pretty.

On vacation last week in Sarasota, Florida, we went on a Sea Life cruise.  A marine biologist was on the boat explaining and teaching about the sea life and birds in the Gulf area.  During the cruise, a net was dropped behind the boat to collect sea life.  The contents were brought on board and dumped in a cooler.  The biologist then spent about 10 minutes digging through the contents pulling out crabs, fish, sponges and a multitude of creatures.  One of the fish collected was a puffer fish.  All of the collected specimens were placed in an aquarium on the boat or in individual salt-water jars.

Back to the puffer fish.  It was about two inches long and looked like every other fish I'd ever seen.  My picture of it in the aquarium is blurry but you can see that it isn't anything spectacular.

It isn't spectacular until it gets irritated.  The biologist stuck her hand in the aquarium and started tickling the belly of that fish.  Within minutes, it started sucking in water and growing.  It grew and grew until it looked like this:
 It doesn't even look like the same fish from the one laying so still in the tank.  It's countenance totally changed when it was irritated.
The biologist held that puffer fish out of the water for just a short amount of time.  I was in the front row so she brought it right in front of me and just as I shot this photo, the fish spewed out its water contents all over me.  It had sucked in water to allow it to puff up and that water now ran down my purse!

Everyone laughed including me.  The timing was perfect! 

As I think about that fish, however, I realize I am very much like a puffer fish but not in a good way!  I go about my day looking like everyone else.  However, when I get irritated...when someone rubs me the wrong way...I suck in hot air much like that fish sucks in water.  And I hold that hot air in until I explode and the contents coming out of my mouth are not pretty. 

I'm sure God didn't create that puffer fish to teach me a lesson but I saw it on the boat that day.  I don't want to be a puffer fish.  I don't what to puff up in a protective manner and then spill my guts out on someone.

Romans 12 contains words like:  bless and do not curse, live in harmony with one another, live at peace with everyone, do not take revenge, if your enemy is hungry...feed him.

Oh God, when my belly is being tickled by someone; when I am feeling irritated, help me not to puff up like the puffer fish.  Fill my heart full of love and help me see people the way You see them.  Let my mouth speak words of blessings and not spew foul contents.  Thank you, Lord, for the puffer fish and the incredible lesson I see from Your creation.  You are amazing!  In the name of Jesus I pray...Amen.

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