My youngest son received a Beta fish on his 8th birthday. This was one great gift that everyone adored and peered at day in and day out. This fish was in a pretty tank with clear beautiful water and colorful beads strewn across the bed of the tank. A tall green artificial tree stood beautifully in the corner and a stone turtle with an opening in his belly was propped in the middle of the tank. This place was made as comfortable as can be for the fish and for the eye of the beholder.
After a few weeks had gone by the fish tank didn’t seem to have the luster it had in the beginning. In fact, left-over food particles and mess began to cloud the water. At this point, the children didn’t pay much attention to the fish, and I would look at the tank, mentally reminding myself to clean it.
A few more weeks had gone by, and I still failed to clean the tank, but this time the kids noticed and didn’t fail to remind me. Finally, I broke down and did the deed that I was avoiding for some time and cleaned the tank.
Boy did I see a difference in the fish’s attitude after he was placed back into a clean and fresh tank with clear water. I’m sure he felt refreshed and relieved that he had a new, clean, and fresh outlook on life. However, over the next year and a half, this poor Beta fish had to continually go through the process of being among dark and murky waters until I made the time to clean it.
During an increased time of darkness and murkiness, not only did the tank lose its luster but the fish’s bright blue coat had dulled and his body became weak. He looked a little worn out from having to endure such a dirty environment for so long. By the time I paid much attention, the fish had grown weak and couldn’t swim to the top of the tank to retrieve his meals.
I felt horrible and immediately went to work to save this Beta fish’s life. My middle child look away in disbelief, holding his hands to his head and accused our family of killing a poor fish. I cleaned the tank up and placed the Beta fish back into his clean home. A few days later, we noticed the fish had regained his strength. He was happily swimming around his tank and, when I went to feed him he had no trouble swimming to the top of the tank to grab his mini pellets of food. Now that he had a clean and fresh outlook on life again, he had the strength to endure.
The condition of this Beta fish reminds me somewhat of the human condition. Sometimes we swim in dark and murky waters that tear us down mentally, physically, and spiritually. To others we appear worn out; we lose our luster. We lose our strength and zeal for living life in an abundant manner.
The only difference between the Beta and you and I is that we don’t have to wait for anyone to decide to clean our tank. Jesus already died on the cross to wash away the murky waters and cloudy mess we created in our lives (Isaiah 53:5).
If we want to experience that clean and fresh outlook on life just as the Beta fish, we are ordered by God to confess our sins; lay it all out before Him and walk away in faith that we are clean and redeemed through Jesus Christ our Savior (1 John 1:9). Don’t continue to live in condemnation, where you continually beat yourself up for repeating the same mistakes. Have faith, go to God, and He will clean you up and give you the strength to endure (Psalms 34:22) and (1 John 3:20).