It came to me in the middle of the night. Many in my community have long prayed for a revival in our churches, community and nation.
We’ve watched and wondered—has God answered our prayers? If so, how?
One thing I’ve learned is that God’s answers aren’t always obvious at first. Often they are quite different from what we expect.
As for my little town, one wonderful answer has been, in fact, how many of our young people are showing up for Bible studies and at Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings.
Another answer, however, just wasn’t on my radar.
This is the revival of the aquaculture industry.
Over the past few years, Belzoni—the “Catfish Capital of the World”—saw the virtual demise of our signature industry. Other areas in Mississippi did too.
So many of our growers, and the spin-off industries that depended on those growers, disappeared or experienced decline. The effect on local economies and the very spirit of our communities was severe. Stores closed. Businesses suffered. People moved away in search of gainful employment elsewhere.
We’ve seen the effect in churches as well.
It has been discouraging.
While we in Belzoni had rued for years the catfish industry’s demise, we had prayed for our community—for jobs, businesses, churches, schools and individuals.
Then things started to turn, but in a way we didn’t notice right away. A recent revival of the catfish industry in our state, and certainly in Belzoni, has occurred. We hope it jumpstarts our economy, provides desperately needed jobs and fills churches with grateful people.
So may the Lord revive the catfish industry, and for more reasons than one!
If your town is like mine, it’s got strengths and weaknesses. I love my little town. In spite of our trials and tribulations, our sins and shortcomings, there is no place I would rather live. We’ll keep praying for it, and we’ll keep watching for God’s reply.
Let’s not miss God’s answer to prayer. You never know how it will arrive. It may even come in the form of a fish.
Rev. Richard Wiman is the pastor of First
Presbyterian Church in Belzoni and an
accomplished, much-published writer.