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Fish and Storms

Shane Willard

Page 6 of 10
There's this preacher named David Ring. Early in my life, he changed my life. He was born with cerebral palsy, and you look at someone's story, and you ask yourself: what are we complaining about? Sometimes unexpected crisis in our life does things to us, but unexpected crisis in other people's lives, and we see how they handle it, also does something in us. There's something that's healing in suffering. In other words, don't miss the opportunity to make the most of a good crisis! I listened to these stories, I saw these people, I saw the guy on Dr Oz, I'd heard about this lady in my dad's group. Then I asked myself: what kinds of things do we complain about? Someone didn't speak to me, they were mean. The Cable guy is late. The trady didn't show up on time. They never fixed that road in a way that doesn't hold up traffic. The things that we complain about, the things on our list get exposed in the middle of fish and storms.

So storms reveal a lack of faith, by showing the faith of others. Have you ever seen someone's faith, that revealed your lack of it? Have you ever seen someone's generosity, that exposed your greed? There's been times when I've been working on generosity in my life, and building it around my life, and being more of a giver, and more of a giver, more of a giver. There was a moment last year where I thought: man, I'm feeling pretty good about where I am with this. Then I turned on the TV one night, and there was a show called Extreme Home Makeover in America. I don't know if it comes on here, and there was this couple up in Pennsylvania, and they were feeding like 15,000 meals a week out of their back kitchen, and like their floor was falling through the ground. Their children were having issues with holes in the walls and all of this stuff, and Extreme Home Makeover came in and they started asking the guy, they said: how much do you make a year? He said: oh, we make $140,000 a year - which is hardly poor - and yet there were holes in the floor.

They said: $140,000 a year, why wouldn't you fix this floor? Why wouldn't you fix that hole? He said: if you saw what comes through here every week - if I fix this floor, that's hundreds of meals I can't feed. Someone's going to go hungry so I can have a floor, are you kidding me? Where would my priorities be? When he said that, I went - I'm just going to go faint now. So here's a guy on $140,000 a year, and his family was living on $40,000 and they gave $100,000 of their personal income to feed people who can't eat. That is righteousness, so as much generosity as I had thought I had built around my life, when I saw that, it exposed some existing greed still left in my heart. Sometimes fish and storms expose the things that need to change.

So fish and storms, unexpected crises reveal who we really are. They change the value of things. They expose a lack of faith, and they expose flaws in our perspectives. Jonah's prayer's very interesting. When you read Jonah's prayer, it's all direct quotes from different psalms. I cried to You in my distress; that's Psalm 18 and Psalm 120. Waves and breakers were coming over my head; that's Psalm 132. I was deep into the realm of the dead; that's Psalm 120. Up from the pit You brought me; that's Psalm 30. Salvation's from the Lord; that's Psalm 3. Jonah at least had his word down. He's in the belly of the fish, and where does he turn? He turns to the word. He turns to the life-giving; he turns to light, life, increase. He turns to this, and he begins to repeat this over and over and over again, and when he wrote or narrated this, he said: this was the essence of what I prayed. All of these things are direct quotes from psalms.