If you have been following our blog for some time, you may remember that I frequently write about my two black labs, Blue and Tex. As all good labs, Blue and Tex possess an energy level that requires active play each and every day. Every morning I load them up and take them to a wooded area by the river about a mile from our house to let them sniff and explore followed by a few dozen retrieves.
Earlier this spring the dogs sniffed out a river turtle laying eggs on the shore. It is not unusual to see snapping turtles on the river. A few weeks ago, when I took the boys for their morning run, I looked over at the river and noticed the turtle again, trying, as it seemed, to swim a bit up the river, just its head peeping out of the water. I couldn’t help but think it was a hefty feat given all the rain we have had this year and the stronger-than-normal current. Last week, at nearly the same place in the river, I spotted her again. Now, I’m not all that familiar with turtle habits, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the turtle was up to in that area of the river. I could only imagine that it was something important to be working that hard.
Fast forward to this week, Monday morning. As I let the dogs out of the vehicle, I looked out into the river and wouldn’t you know it I saw the turtle again! In the exact same spot! I’m no genius, but even I finally recognized that something was amiss. I looked closer, really looked this time, and was dumbstruck by what I saw. It wasn’t a turtle bravely battling a swim upriver! No, the morning light reflected off a fishing line that had somehow gotten tangled in an overhead electrical cable. Where the fishing line entered the river below, a slug of weeds and debris had wrapped around it making a small oval-shaped piece that poked above the water. The turtle I thought I had been seeing for the last several weeks was actually a clump of river weeds! Yes, please laugh. It’s quite funny.
The experience, while a bit embarrassing, was also humbling. As I thought about the experience, I was reminded of the 2 Corinthians 5:7 verse, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (NIV). How often in my life had I believed what I thought I saw rather than what I knew to be true by faith? The answer is too often. When I turn on the news and see the devastation humanity causes both to each other and the world, my sight will tell me that there is no hope. When I learn of a classmate that recently committed suicide, my sight will question if it is all worth it. When I hear of a young boy in my community that has been diagnosed with a fast-moving, terminal cancer that will take his life within months, my sight becomes blurred with tears. So much of what I see in the world brings feelings of despair, hopelessness, and deep sadness. But then, God sends me a “river turtle” to remind me that I do not live by what I see because my sight is limited. Instead, as a follower of Christ, I live by faith. Faith in his word. Faith in his promises. Faith in the power of the spirit in me.
If you have followed Christ for any amount of time, he has at some point sent you a “river turtle”. We would love to hear about your “turtles”!
Contributed by Liz Hunt