Lazarus was his name. He was gold, slippery and about two years old. He was no more than three inches long and could not communicate with me in the English language. He was not furry, affectionate or smart. But he was used as a tool in the hand of his Creator to teach me a valuable lesson. One in which I have carried with me all of my forty-one years of living.
One afternoon, many years ago, my four young children stood around me as I laid a small, struggling goldfish in the palm of my hand, just beneath the water’s surface. For over an hour I tried to release a small, blue pebble from the fierce suction of this helpless fish. Nothing I tried would work. It seemed the harder I pulled, the more he clung on. His fate looked grim and the kids began to sigh. I told them to pray because this problem was not too big for the One who created Him. They asked Jesus to rescue him, and another hour went by, with no better results. I reminded the Lord of it only taking the faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain and all I wanted was to remove a tiny pebble, so I continued my best efforts to free this fish who was soon becoming lethargic from sheer exhaustion. The thought came to me to use tweezers and gently break the suction of the pebble in this poor creature’s mouth. It was of no use it seemed. But I could not give up on this fish. I knew His Creator was not in the business of giving up on me or my children.
All of a sudden, there was a knock on my door. The kids rose quickly to see who our visitor was. A former neighbor, who was like a second mother to me, had stopped by to say hi. What a perfect time for her to arrive. She was puzzled to see me holding a quiet goldfish in my hand, with a tear in my eye and an obvious look of confusion.
Had my God turned His back on me and my children at a time we needed Him to come through for us? Had my God not cared enough to come to this little fish’s aid and bring glory to Himself? Was my God playing games with me, mocking me or ignoring me?
I am certain he was not. My God, who said He would never leave me or forsake me, was carefully watching, and timing things precisely. He knew what was to come of three dreadful hours that tested my own faith in Him.
My friend Marietta, slowly and calmly, walked over to me after I told her what we have been trying to do for this fish. I told her how we had prayed and were waiting on God to answer our prayers. When I handed her the tweezers, she leaned over Lazarus, and popped the pebble right out of his mouth. Just like that! It was done. I gently put him into the water, and he slowly began to move around. Moments later, he was swimming about as if the ordeal had never happened.
My children and I knew what had happened though. We were shown, first hand, God’s faithfulness in His promises. He had been watching, planning and waiting for just the right moment to intervene and relive Lazarus of his predicament.
He will never leave you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6) He will use even a fish in this day and age, to prove Himself worthy, to show Himself loving and remind you that He is a faithful God and will remain faithful to His promises forever.