Lessons from the Sea Turtle

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. –Psalm 42:5 (NIV)

When my husband and I visited the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island, I became fascinated with sea turtles.

I learned that Mama Sea Turtle lays her eggs—as many as 120 at a time—in a nest she digs on a sandy beach, far enough away from the shoreline that the tides won’t reach it, yet close enough for the baby turtles to make their way to their ocean home once they’ve hatched and climbed out of the nest.

Sixty days after they’re laid, the eggs hatch, and the hatchlings make their way to the shoreline. Thirty to 35 years later, females will return to the beaches where they hatched to lay their own eggs.

The baby turtles’ lives are fraught with danger—mostly from predators on land and in the sea—but the period they are most vulnerable is when they make their trek from the nest to the shoreline.

Once they’ve hatched, the little turtles head for the brightest horizon. Hence during hatching season the lights on beachfront buildings are turned off and residents close their window blinds at night so the hatchlings don’t head for the wrong light.

Not only are they exposed to predators on their dash to the sea, but also they’re in danger of dehydration from the sun. Many don’t make it.

Yet helping them get from nest to surf is not in the best interest of the turtles. Although it’s a time fraught with danger, it’s necessary for the young turtles to make the trek themselves.

The crawl to the ocean allows them to wake up—remember they are only hours old. Alertness, mobility, and strength increase as they move.

The trek is also an important part of a complicated process whereby their surroundings are imprinted on the brains of the baby turtles, so the females will return to the very beaches where they hatched to lay their own eggs.

I liken the hatchlings’ crawl to the ocean to the times in our lives when we, too, have to muddle through. Let’s take a lesson from the sea turtle.

First, head for the right light. Many false lights clamor for our attention, but only one Light is the right one that will lead us to our eternal home. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Second, know the trek is necessary. The trial will make you stronger. It will refine you: “For you, O God, have tested us; you refined us like silver” (Psalm 66:10). It will develop perseverance and maturity: “The testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3–4).

Also, trials purify your faith: “These (trials) have come so that your faith—of even greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine” (1 Peter 1:7).

And finally, the trials impress upon us that our lives are not random wanderings. We were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27)—thus we bear His imprint. “He has set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). After our sojourning, which will include many times of trial, we’ll find our way to home—and our Creator—again.

Thank you, Jesus, for being the Light that guides me through the muddling times and to home. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 42.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

The Hem of His Garment

“The Hem of His Garment,” © 2004 by MessianicArt.com

If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well. Mark 5:28 (NKJV)

For 12 long years she suffered. She tried every recourse available, but to no avail. “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet of instead of getting better, she grew worse” (Mark 5:26).

I wonder—Was she beyond desperation, past the point of caring? Had she surrendered to her illness, counting the days until it would finally siphon her last ounce of energy, her last breath? Only then would she have relief.

But then she heard something that stirred up a hope she thought long dead: Jesus of Nazareth was passing through—the man whose reputation as a miracle worker was spreading through the country like a wildfire through the withered wasteland: how He’d healed the leper and the man with the withered hand, how he’d driven thousands of demons from the crazy man that lived in Gadarene tombs. Why, word had it that He even calmed a storm at sea with only a few words! Surely He could help her.

She knew she wasn’t allowed in public in her condition, but maybe, just maybe . . . She wrapped her mantle around her face and stepped out the door.

When she saw the crowds swarming around Him, she despaired. She didn’t have a chance. But something in her emboldened her to push through the throng. She was almost to Him when she heard Jairus’s voice: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and live.”

She knew the little girl—she was only 12. And here she was, way past her prime. Better to let Him go to the girl and not take the time to bother with an old woman. Besides, Jairus was one of the higher ups in the local synagogue, and who was she? A nobody. She turned to leave, but the swarming crowd pushed her closer to Jesus—close enough to touch Him. Hope flared.

“If just touch His clothes . . .”

She reached out. Her fingertips brushed the hem of His garment. Suddenly she felt whole. Healthy. Strong. Healed.

Jesus stopped abruptly and looked around. “Who touched Me?”

In the midst of a jostling crowd, He knew. Terror seized her. Would He be angry? Would her illness return?

Trembling, she fell at His feet and confessed. Love, not condemnation, poured from His eyes.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Later she heard that He’d brought Jairus’s daughter back from the dead.

Sometimes I wish that Jesus still walked this earth so I, too, can reach out and touch the hem of His garment.

And then I remember—He does: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)—and I can: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.   (Ps. 5:3). Amen.

Feeling God doesn’t care about you? Read Psalm 139.

Read and reflect on Mark 5:25-34.

(c) 2011 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.