If you have ever been a kid, had a kid, or spent time around children, you have likely said and heard these words a few thousand times: “go-fish.”
To the late-in-life learner of the English language, it would seem like an error, an incorrect use of words, or a confusing way to talk about fishing…but you know I’m talking about the card game.
I still remember the first time—as a child—I met a friend who played “go-fish” by the wrong rules. I was astounded. This other kid with his other rules had it all wrong. The reality is, the two of us came from different homes, different parents, different upbringings. We were taught differently. Neither of us had direct connection with the creator of the game we were playing. As a result—and due to our surprising divergence—we had to come to terms between ourselves before moving forward and playing our card game. If we continued to disagree and alter the rules, we would need to call our game something other than “go-fish,” as we would be playing a game of our own creation.
Some try to explain the major issues in society today on similar grounding. It is said that we just need to come to terms among ourselves regarding rules and restrictions, right and wrong, or even throw those ideas out altogether (open your mind!). The problem with this reasoning is that our current social climate is not the same—it is not a game. The freedom-with-form structure of life is not a game.
Though many walk in darkness and deny the Creator-God, followers of Christ know the Maker; we have His Word as a lamp to light our path. We have a direct connection with the Author of Life, the Author of Truth. He is there and He is not silent, as Francis Schaeffer has written. God has made Himself knowable; He has revealed Himself. He is the universe-Maker, and we don’t have the authority to create our own little kingdoms, try as we might. Our attempts at alternate-reality-building will always exist within the reality God made. It has been observed that even the person who hates God and doesn’t believe He exists still walks on the ground God made, and breathes the oxygen God has given.
Though we are endowed with creativity in likeness to our Maker which can be used for glorious good, any sinful creating comes against His good creation—it is evil and displeasing to him, and will never be ‘right,’ no matter how many individuals, or rulers, or nations may claim it to be. As humans, we have a Romans 1 tendency of suppressing the truth and becoming inventors of evil. None are righteous apart from Christ, and by nature, the unrighteous do unrighteous things, and generally applaud when others participate.
But disciples of Christ follow a different path. We are those gladly submitted by faith to Christ. We trust Him for forgiveness of sins. He is our salvation, and we now desire to walk in His good instructions which bring about His glory and our benefit. We once were in darkness, aiming to create our own rules, standards, with self as the judge. Christ has brought us into the light. It is not ourselves we proclaim, but Him, and His will.
The guy who created “go-fish” likely wouldn’t care so much what rules a second grader added or skipped over. He made a great game with an existing card deck, rather than making you buy another! But know this: the guidelines of a children’s game are not equivalent to the structure for life given by the just, loving, all-knowing, sovereign-universe-creator and sustainer, the sacrificial-Savior, the risen Christ. We need to look at everything around us in its proper context, in relation to the Maker. This is the point of divergence, right off the bat, in most contentious conversations between Christians and those who reject the God of the Bible.
The God of the universe has given order for us—we are not just players of some game that He has made, we are His image bearers created for purposeful living in His will. In His will we find joy. In Him we find peace. In His revealed Word we find instruction, the story of God, the story of each of us. However much the world comes against God’s design, the Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-filled, Body of Christ must remain steadfast, attached to truth—built on Truth. This context cannot be lost, forfeited, or sold. We buy the truth and refuse to sell it. We read the truth and store it up within our hearts and minds. We fill ourselves on the spiritual food and it gives light to all the darkness around us, a clarified eye-glass to see rightly what was previously dim and confusing. And this is the path we walk until the day we die, all by God’ grace.
Go-fish had a creator, and this world does too. Every letter, a writer. Every book, an author. Every invention, a maker. You can’t meet every inventor; the majority are dead. You can’t search out every author, though some still live and even respond. But no inventor, author, letter writer or creator of anything, is of any comparison to the Holy Maker of the Heavens and the Earth. Don’t miss the reality that He is knowable. Don’t miss Christ, who died to rescue you. Don’t miss true context which He has given freely, for all of life. This world is passing away, and your body is too. Set your mind on Jesus. Set your eyes on the Scriptures, and find what your soul has been aching after. You’ve turned over a lot of rocks in this world like I have, but none of them uncovered what you were looking for—Jesus is the answer.
Speaking of context. Many have seen the photo of a 6 or a 9 drawn in the sand, with a befuddled fellow on both sides. It is assumed they are arguing over what the number is, and the context of the meme is that both are correct from their given standpoint. This is foolishness. It is true they could argue all day. But it is also true, if they searched out the writer and asked him, they could know the truth over their opinions. You cannot look at something ‘plainly’ as though it just appeared from nowhere. It came from somewhere, with intent. This world did too. The universe, mankind, the Scriptures, the reality of the dead-then-risen Christ, also are purposeful. I urge you with my whole being: don’t miss the greater context. Don’t be fooled by a fool’s definition of anything, when he despises the God who made him and all else. Look to Christ and listen to what He has to say.
God has given good instruction, according to His will as Creator. But He has given more than rules, more than instruction, though all those are good. He has given Himself. He has laid down His life for your rescue, because of His goodness. To refuse Christ is to revile life. It is a sure way to eternal death. It is ultimate self-harm. But salvation is available to all who call on the name of the Lord. All who call on Him, will follow Him until they reach home. All who feed on Truth will be filled. Taste and see.