Fish discover water last – Ethiopian proverb

By Dave Henning / December 3, 2017

“Fish discover water last.”- old Ethiopian proverb

In today’s blog, Pastor John Ortberg covers the eleventh and final myth about intimacy.

Myth #11: You can’t experience genuine intimacy with someone you can’t see or touch.  Maybe, John posits, God: humans :: water: fish.  For fish, their environment consists of water.  In fact, they’ve never know existence apart from it.  Similarly, we’ve never know existence apart from God.  Consequently, Pastor Ortberg suggests, “Perhaps it’s not God’s distance from us, but our very dependence on him that makes us blind to his presence (emphasis author’s).”  We have to learn to recognize it.

Furthermore, John describes three barriers to intimacy with God:

  • the spiritual nature of God’s presence.  At first glance, this seems like a barrier to intimacy.  However, the spiritual nature of God’s presence actually allows deeper intimacy with God than anyone else.  As the author adds, “He is closer to us than our own skin.”
  • believing God’s standards are low enough for you to join his family.  Except, John exhorts, they are!
  • questioning whether God’s there.  John explains: “We live in an age when belief comes hard because we’re much more afraid of being gullible (believing something that’s not true) than we are of being skeptical (not believing something that is true).  We often speak of ‘honest doubt’ and ‘blind faith,’ but never of ‘honest faith’ and blind doubt’ (though both exist).”

In conclusion, Neal Plantinga, president emeritus of Calvin Theological Seminary, once observed that a fair number of Christians show no particular interest in God.  Such Christians fail to ask, talk about, or even think about God.  Unless they’re forced to.

Rather than a professional interest in God, we need to be preoccupied with God.  If we fail to take constant notice of things about the One we love, sooner or later God becomes a stranger to our thoughts.  We forget God, or doubt Him – because we fail to love Him.

Finally, at times we experience what John calls “the presence of the absence of God.”  Yet,, it’s possible that when we feel God the least, He’s most present.

Today’s question: How do you discover water last?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The Bible word for separate – often translated holy”

About the author

Dave Henning

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