Acts 17: 24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth…
Yesterday, I was invited by a marine biologist specialist from the Borneo Marine Research Insitute in the University of Sabah to come and have a conversation with her fish! “Conversation?” I asked, to which she replied, “And why not?” Intrigued by her invitation and my ignorance, I went with a dear friend of mine who was equally curious to see me, of all people, have a conversation with a fish.
Sometimes we are compelled by the sense of imagination and curiosity to test the boundaries of our own ignorance and step into the domain of the unknown. Just to even think that a fish in a large fish tank can hear my voice and respond is intriguing! Animals I can understand, getting close to a dolphin or a free-Willy type of whale as we have all seen is possible but to have a conversation with a large fish in a large tank? Throughout the drive to the university campus I was thinking of a man named Jonah son of Amittai who was inside a fish for three days and three nights. While inside the fish, it is recorded he prayed and there must have been a silent listener.
Well, here was I, standing outside this massive tank and this huge, beautiful creature came up close to me. I looked around to see if there were any other people watching me and since it was only my close friend next to me, I started this conversation. “Hi! Hello big guy! You OK?” This face came up closer to mine and just started staring at me and did not move away. I kept on talking and he (I found this out later and that he was fifteen years old!) just kept on staring at me, listening, as if to acknowledge that he heard every word I was saying. Was this beautiful creature created by a Creator God able to really hear my questions about his welfare? I am sure that his Creator knew his thoughts because I was reminded again of Jonah who met his eternal moment and calling within the belly of a large fish. And then, it is written, God commanded the fish and the fish must have heard the command because it vomited Jonah onto dry land. I believe it really happened because that is my faith and trust in the infallible word of God. So, every conversation with another living creature has meaning and can be heard, even if the listener is silent, because we believe in a sovereign, living God not made by human hands.
A Silent Listener to Every Conversation
As a teenager, I remember very vividly these words of wisdom that were framed and hanging on the wall of our dining room:
Not a conversation passes where God is not a silent listener to every word spoken. In the midst of our conversations of shared trials, difficulties, challenges and struggles, there is a silent listener and we would do well to remember and take note.
A few weeks ago, my daughter had a SKYPE interview with an overseas university team of experts from the dentistry faculty. She had prepared herself well and I advised her to treat the interview as a conversation among friends who just wanted to know more of her desires and goals in life. As soon as the interview started, I found myself standing outside the closed door and listening in to this conversation between my daughter and the interviewers. As a father who deeply loves his only daughter, my soul was enveloped with joy and my eyes welled up in tears as I listened to the desires of her heart to do dentistry and her achievements in both the academic and social areas of her life. I stood in amazement as I became the ‘silent listener’ to this conversation between a star student with straight A’s throughout her secondary school life and with those whom she had never met but were in a position to open a new door in her life. I found myself adopting only one posture throughout the 10 minutes of conversation: my hands were folded in prayer thanking God for such a gift of life. I had never ever been so proud and blessed to be alive to hear this conversation behind closed doors.
Matthew 7:9-12 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Conversation with God: The greatest gift to all mankind is that through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we can have a conversation with the one, true, living Creator God who made the whole world and everything in it. How much more then will a Righteous God and heavenly Father give to those who are willing to have a conversation with Him if our hearts are right and desires worthy of bringing glory to His Name. I know God will listen and act and reward accordingly.
Reflect: Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”