November 6, 2020
Last week, I wrote about “swirl”, an oppressive, shifting spiritual atmosphere that robs people of peace and clarity of thought and brings confusion and anxiety. That same day, an artist friend painted a picture of a family of fish**, all the same kind, rapidly swirling together. She says they’re “assuring each other of their proximity”. The sun is about to set, but “there’s still stuff to do”. This was a beautiful, encouraging picture to me, opposite to the negative spiritual atmosphere I was writing about. The family of fish is moving together in the all-embracing environment of water, for which they are made. They’re impervious to disturbances outside that environment.
Father, help us, Your children in the family of faith, one through Jesus’ DNA, move together with Your Holy Spirit, assuring one another of Your, and each other’s, love. Thank You for putting eternity in our hearts and filling us with Your Spirit. There’s lots of “stuff” still to do and the end of the day approaches.
Of course, Jesus gave us another way of looking at fish when He called His first few disciples to set their vision higher and “become fishers of men” (Mk 1:17). For 13 centuries in the field of Muslim missions, a few “fish” have been caught as with a line, one by one. David Garrison documented a significant shift in the first 12 years of the 2000s: “69 movements to Christ of at least 1000 baptized Muslim background believers or 100 new worshiping fellowships have appeared”, * more like net fishing in which multiple fish are caught at once.
When Jesus was calling His first disciples to fish for people, He undoubtedly saw far into the future, into our day when many Muslims are being drawn into God’s Kingdom and family through an abundance of evangelistic material available online. He would have also seen the Holy Spirit acting sovereignly in people’s lives to remove the veil and reveal Christ with no human intervention. Having prophesied through Joel (2:28-32),
He would also have seen a tidal wave of the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh, a time when “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. Do you believe this wave is coming?
On October 30, the Globe & Mail published an article by John Ibbitson and Janice Dickson about the Canadian government’s new immigration targets. To make up for the 2020 shortfall due to COVID restrictions, targets have been greatly increased to more than 1% of our population (37.6 million) for each of the next 3 years: 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023 (assuming normalization of international travel). Some temporary foreign workers, asylum claimants (including those who crossed the border at unauthorized entry points) who’ve found work and made community connections, and international students already in Canada may qualify as permanent residents. Of new admissions, 60% will be economic class to fill job vacancies in every sector, and others will be as refugee and family reunification applicants.
Will the nation be ready to absorb more people than ever before in modern times? Will the church be ready to cast the nets for new Canadians while they still feel like “fish out of water”? Many of these will be Muslims.
Jesus, help us expect the great harvest. Help us see what You see – a tidal wave of the Holy Spirit being poured out on “fish” so hungry for righteousness that only You can fill them, so eager to call on Your name that You hasten to save them. Make us “fishers of men”. Show us how to celebrate new believers as dear brothers and sisters in Your family despite how different they might seem. Help us to recognize You in them and disciple them with wisdom.
*2014, D Garrison, A Wind in the House of Islam, p.18
**Watercolor “Fish” by Ginny G