Lessons from the Anglerfish…
I was reading an interesting article about creatures of the deep that can be seen only by using a deep sea sub that can travel to exceptional depths – observing things that have rarely been seen before. On one such excursion, to a depth of more than 800 meters which is about one-half mile under the surface of the sea (all the way to several miles down), a very unusual mating of fish was witnessed.
In fact, there are more than 300 different kinds of anglerfish – some living in shallow waters and more than 160 deep sea species, with 25 species carrying out a very odd mating ritual that has only been seen a few times by submariners. It turns out the the female of the species is the much larger fish – as large as three feet long, but most times more likely to be one to two feet in length. They have long tentacles, similar to a jellyfish and, to be sure, are some of the ugliest things you can imagine.
By contrast, the male is very small and has the largest nostrils, relative to its size, of any creature on the earth or in the sea. It also has a very well developed sense of sight. Apparently, only about 1% of males ever find a female anglerfish to mate with and the process is quite interesting. The small male, after finding a receptive female, attaches itself to the female, usually on the belly – never to let go. Then, the female actually starts to absorb the male into her body and soon, the male shares blood vessels and other organs with his host – the two actually pretty much become one animal and are inseparable. Females can live to be thirty years old or more. During their lifetime, females can mate with several males who live shorter lives and don’t even have to find their own food any longer once they have merged with the female. They survive through the nutrition that the larger female takes in.
Eventually, baby anglerfish are born and float to the surface, miles above, where the entire process starts over again as the small fry return to the deep, where food is difficult to find and they grow to adulthood in relative obscurity. It was, to say the least, a fascinating article. Scientists went into quite a bit of detail about nature and how it is so much more efficient for the male and female fish to merge into one animal. Food is at a premium and it isn’t necessary to the male to be larger, as in land animals, because after mating, their job is complete.
But I looked at the entire thing from a different perspective. We spend our early lives being exposed to and, hopefully, attracted to God. Then, at some point, believers accept Christ as Lord and Savior. At that time, God sends the Holy Spirit to indwell us and to live in us. We are no longer separated from God – the Holy Spirit lives in us – to guide us, shepherd us, help us in our daily lives and help us to become more Christlike as we grow in our faith. We could even say that we die to ourselves and take on the mantel of a new birth – an eternal life that begins when we are saved. We don’t continue life alone – we are part of something much larger. We each become a part of the body of believers who collectively make up the eternal church of Christ.
Our verse for tonight is from the prophet Ezekiel, an Old Testament prophet who rarely appears in the these posts. But we are told by him, in Ezekiel 36:27, “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
My encouragement this evening is that God desires for us to join Him and be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Life with God is far better than it could ever be with a faithless life. My prayer is that we will listen to the whispers and guidance of the Holy Spirit – and that we will become part of the larger body of believers who choose to spend their eternity totally connected to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…