Friday, November 29, 2013

Lesson from a Leatherback

  While in Monterrico, we had the unique opportunity to release baby sea turtles. For Q10 a person (about $1.25), we were each given an hours-old leatherback sea turtle and then set them down to watch them race down the sand towards the waves. It was an indescribably special experience. I don't know if I can do it justice with words, but I'll try.
  The baby turtles were perfection at its finest. Only hours old, each was perfectly formed- strong flippers, bright black eyes, minuscule nostrils-every detail like an adult's, only in miniature. They were the dearest little animals. How, I thought, when we see these turtles, formed perfectly- each and every one of them, one out of hundreds, thousands- how can we not marvel at the miracle of life inside our own wombs? Because that's what these turtles are: miracles of life. If God is able to form each tiny turtle so perfectly- to the last detail- how much more can He direct our own lives for his purposes?
  My family was shocked by the fact that only 10% of baby sea turtles survive into adulthood. Though the experience was beautiful, touching, and unforgettable, it had a slight melancholic tinge to it, because we knew that the little turtle that had crawled so confidently over the sand- undeterred by obstacles like footprints, focused only on the waves- probably wasn't going to make it. Nine times out of ten, the perfect tiny turtles that God creates are swallowed by something more than waves. Yet they never stop crawling towards their goal.
  Last year, the tortugario we visited released 42,000 leatherback babies into the ocean. That's 4,200 more turtles out there- turtles that defied the odds to live and thrive in the harsh environment for which they were created. We can take a lesson from these turtles. No matter how messed up our world has become, no matter how slim our chance of making a difference seems, we need to remember that we were created by God for more than death. We are meant to bear His message of love to all mankind. Even though most of the turtles won't make it, they keep crawling towards the ocean. Even though not everyone will listen to the message we carry, we keep trying. As I was looking for another Bible verse that I had considered using for this post, I found this one by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:15 says, "[You are] children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world."
  Lord, our world is more "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" now than ever before. Please give us the courage to be Your lights in a dark world, to defy the odds, and to survive among the predators that attempt to separate us from You. Let us be like the baby sea turtles- focused on our goal of Your light that is on the horizon, and not distracted by the ones behind us. Thank you for dying for us, that we may live forever in Your Kingdom. Amen.

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