This is a true story about a fish.
When I was in my first year of university my roommate Maggie and I decided to buy a Siamese Fighting Fish. We called him Fernando and kept him on top of our mini fridge. As we were prepping his bowl Fernando swam about happily in his plastic bag, which we propped on top of the fridge and leaned up against the wall.
We decided to celebrate our new fish by blasting the song “Fernando” by ABBA while dancing around the room. Apparently our dancing jostled the fridge a wee bit much, and Fernando sailed through the air in his bag and landed with a plop on the floor. He survived, luckily, but that wasn’t his last near death experience.
We hadn’t had Fernando very long when he began to show signs of distress. He was fighting to swim down, down, down to the bottom of his bowl, but his body was floating up, up, up to the top. He looked like he was going to die. One of our floor mates suggested that he needed more oxygen, so we grabbed two straws from the cafeteria and blew bubbles into his bowl. Then we sang to him softly:
“There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright, Fernando…”
“Come on buddy, come back to us! You can do it!”
After about an hour he looked worse off than before. Practically belly up, ‘Nando was trying to with all his might to fight the resistance and swim back down, but it looked like he was going to lose. There was nothing more we could do. We couldn’t bear to watch, so with heavy hearts we called it a night and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning to hear Maggie exclaiming, “Look, Natalie! He’s alive!” And there was Fernando, swimming happily in his bowl, as if the night before never occurred.
“Natalie,” said Maggie in a state of wonder, “I prayed for Fernando last night.”
Shocked that my Catholic-raised yet completely non-religious roommate took our dying fish to the Lord, I responded with my own admission: “So did I.”
From that day forward, our fish Fernando was given a new name: Fernando Lazarus* Prior Binder.
There was most certainly something in the air that night: faith. I’m not sure if Fernando really died, but I like to believe he did. I like to believe that God used our childlike faith to raise a Siamese Fighting Fish from the dead. It’s just one of the many ways he’s shown me that he cares about the details of my life – big or small – and that sometimes all it takes is just a little bit of faith to see him move. That’s a God worth trusting.
* In John 11 Jesus raised Lazarus of Bethany from the dead after 4 days.