Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
- 1 John 3:13
I heard a story about some fish suppliers who were having problems shipping codfish from the East Coast. By the time the fish reached the West Coast, they were spoiled. They froze them, but by the time the fish arrived, they were mushy. So the seafood company decided to send them alive. . .but the fish arrived dead. On their third try, they once more shipped the fish alive, but with one difference. They included a catfish in each tank. The catfish, you see, is the natural enemy of the codfish. By the time the codfish arrived, they were alive and well, because they had spent their trip fleeing the catfish.
Could it be that God, in His wisdom, has put a catfish in your tank to keep you alive and well spiritually? Maybe there's a person at work who always has hardball questions for you every Monday morning regarding spiritual things. Maybe it's that neighbor who constantly gives you a hard time about your faith in Jesus. Maybe it's a spouse or family member who doesn't believe. And you begin to wonder, "Why is this happening to me?"
It's just that catfish in your life. . .keeping you spiritually alert and on your toes. It's God's provision to protect you from a weak, mushy faith.
Shortly before He went to the cross, Jesus told the disciples, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19).
God will allow persecution in the life of the believer. If you're experiencing persecution-whether subtle or out front and in the open-here are two things to remember: First, persecution confirms that you are a child of God. Be glad in that. And second, persecution causes you to cling closer to Jesus.
When you endure persecution for your faith, remember that this world is not your home.
And as far as I know, there are no catfish in heaven.