Since two of my last three posts featured pictures from the turtle/tortoise family, I thought I would complete the trifecta by re-posting a Thinking Out Loud entry from July of 2009…

Back in 1986, I had an opportunity to visit a nature preserve on the east coast of Australia near the city of Bundaberg. This stretch of protected beaches served as a favorite nesting area for sea turtles. When nesting time arrives, female sea turtles pull themselves onto the beach, safely out of the reach of crashing waves. They use their flippers to dig a sizeable hole into which they lay 150-250 eggs, then cover their clutch with a heavy, sandy blanket. After a couple of months of incubation, the young turtles tear through the membrane of their shells and struggle their way to the surface of the sand. Once on the beach, they instinctively head for the ocean. Researchers have discovered that it is not the sound of the surf or the smell of the salty spray that lures the little turtles into the sea. Rather, they have an innate drive that directs them to the distant horizon. Even at night, they can distinguish the barely visible line between the lighter sky and the darker ocean. God has given them a divinely-implanted GPS to lead them to their home.

Occasionally, a careless sea turtle will dig her nest beyond the crest of a dune. The sad result is that the hatchlings will totally ignore the roar of the ocean behind them and begin scampering toward the inland horizon, away from the protection and provisions of the life-giving water. Armed with flashlights that night on the Queensland coast, my friends and I assisted park rangers in looking for poorly placed nests. We picked up hatchlings that were headed for certain doom, carried them back to the sea-side of the dunes, gently placed them on the sand, then watched in amazement and amusement as these darling little turtles waddled their way into the waves.

God created us to be in fellowship and relationship with Him. He “set eternity in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) so that we might look to the Horizon beyond this world of danger, despair, and death. Yet, our view of Home is frequently obscured by the dunes of this world that place idols before our eyes and fan the flames of sinful desires within our hearts. Ignoring His will, we have sought our own, foolishly setting a course that will only bring us harm and destruction. Rather than just leaving us to the consequences of our own devices and decisions, our Father graciously and mercifully sent His Son to seek out the misdirected, the wayward, and the lost. If we allow Him, Jesus will gently turn our hearts toward Home and lovingly lead us to the river of the water of Life.

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