Have you ever watched Shark Week on the Discovery Channel?
Did you know Shark Week originally premiered in 1988?

Here’s a funny story. I was terrified of sharks, not that there were many sharks in my world in Bethel Park, PA, at age 3. I most likely saw a commercial for the movie Jaws or I happened to be in the room when the movie was on (unbeknownst to my parents). When a trip to Lake Erie was planned for our summer vacation, I stubbornly refused to go because I was “NOT going to be eaten by Jaws in the Erie Ocean,” as I told my parents.

My parents chose not to change the vacation plans to suit my unrealistic fear. My solution: pack my bags and run away. Trust me, there are pictures of me running away with my suitcase. Fortunately, my world was small. I “ran away” to the little old lady’s house at the end of the street, with the babysitter following behind me in her car, while my pregnant mom sat at home worried about her stubborn-hearted little girl. My mom retrieved me shortly after I had time to calm down. As you can tell, I survived the vacation with no shark sightings at all.

While my world still has very little exposure to actual sharks, except during Shark Week, it doesn’t always feel that way. Aside from the obvious marine life, the word “shark” is defined as “a rapacious crafty person who takes advantage of others often through usury, extortion, or devious means.”[1] Scams are on the rise. Email scams and fake ads. Identity theft. Suspicion of other people’s motives. Untrustworthy and corrupt officials. Government lies. This broken world makes us suspicious of one another. It causes anxiety and depression. We live with such unrest. Why?

James tells us that when our loyalty is divided between God and the world, we are unstable in everything we do (James 1:8 NLT). The more we look around at the world, the more anxious we become.  We must remember to look to the One who creates the sharks, the sea, the sky, tidal waves, tornadoes, snow, sun, moon, stars, and people. Each one of those things was created in Genesis 1 by God. And in verse 31, God saw that all His creation was very good.

God is always consistent - He is unchanging, He is good, He is sovereign. What is not consistent is our feelings, other human beings, and the world.

"This is what the Lord says: 'Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.
'But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
'The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.'” Jeremiah 17:5-10

If we are relying on our feelings, other humans, or the world, we are building our house on the sand, like in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7.

We can easily change our outlook by looking to Jesus, spending more time with Him than with the world. How much time do you spend watching Shark Week? CNN? The Food Network?
How much time have you spent in prayer? Your Bible? Listening to worship music?

Running away won’t solve our “shark” problems. We will always be surrounded by troubles. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. If we spend more time looking to Jesus than we do looking at the chaos in the world, we can calm our restless hearts.

“…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith,” Heb. 12:1-2

How do we know that Jesus will calm our hearts? Back in John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we will have peace in Him. Paul calls Him the Lord of peace in 2 Thess. 3:16, and Isaiah calls Him the Prince of Peace in Is. 9:6. Peace cannot be found in this world. It is passing away (1 Cor. 7:31). But Jesus has overcome the world.
   [1] “Shark Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster. Accessed September 15, 2023. 

1 Comment

Melanie - October 10th, 2023 at 8:01am

Great stuff Jeanette! Where is my focus, the sharks or the great fisher of men?