When I hear the word "rescue," it automatically stirs my emotions and sends my thoughts wondering, "Who needed to be rescued?" "What happened?" " What situation did they get themselves into that caused a need for rescuing?" I automatically think that someone is lost, or in a terrible accident. They need saving! Rescuing is something that someone else must do for the one who needs rescuing. You cannot rescue yourself! We ALL have and ARE in that same situation! It's the whole reason Christ Jesus came! ...to seek and save the lost, those in trouble, those who need immediate attention. In today's Monday Musing, Margaret Kemp shares her story with that of the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. ~Sherry
“When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”
Once while vacationing in the Caribbean, my husband and I visited a turtle farm. I don’t have any particular affinity for turtles, but the Kemp’s Ridley caught my attention. (After all, he—or maybe she---and I are both “Kemps.”) I was curious about this little fellow, so I did some research.
The Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle is the smallest, most endangered of all sea turtles. Life in the Gulf of Mexico and along its shores is a struggle for this little 30 inch, 100-pound marine animal. Between April and July, females of breeding age return to the beach where they were hatched, most commonly along the Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico. After about 50 days, hatchlings emerge from the ping-pong sized eggs. The hatchlings, measuring about an inch and a half long and weighing no more than half an ounce, then begin to scamper across the beach in a treacherous trek to the water. As few as 1% survive to adulthood, and many don’t even make it to the water because they fall prey to vultures, frigate birds, and sand crabs.
Though it’s no longer legal to hunt these turtles for food or boot material, their lives are in peril. They can become entangled in shrimp trawls and drown. Then there’s the loss of habitat as their nesting beaches are developed.
In April 2010 when Deepwater Horizon dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles were smothering in oil. The U. S. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries agents worked diligently to rescue, clean, and return these animals to the water.
In her book, The Great Ridley Rescue, (Sept. 1988. Mountain Press.p.180 ISBN 0-87842-229-3) Pamela Philips called this turtle the “heartbreak turtle.” This name was coined by fishermen who saw turtles dying after being “turned turtle” (turned on their backs.) The fishermen said they died of a broken heart.
I share more in common with the Kemp’s Ridley than a name. I’ve been in that brokenhearted place, where my life has been “turned turtle.” I’ve been in that place of helplessness, where my very survival was threatened. Like the turtle, I needed someone to rescue me, to clean up the mess of my broken existance, and to return me to a functioning, happy, productive life.
I can tell you without a doubt that God did this for me. It was in my place of desperation that I came to know personally that “the Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) In my sorrow, I found unconditional love. In my state of rejection, I found a Savior who would never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). In my desperation, I found that there is always a way out. By the power of God’s Word, through the work of His Holy Spirit, and with the help of His people, I was rescued.
During that season of broken-heartedness, there were lonely Sunday afternoons when I felt myself sinking into despair. Just when I thought I could stand it no longer, the phone would ring. “I was just checking on you,” the voice on the other end would say. It was one of God’s emissaries, a Christian friend who had heeded the nudging of the Holy Spirit and picked up the phone.
There were troubled evenings when I wondered what my future would hold. Often, I’d get a message on the computer from an out-of-town friend. “God’s got a great plan for you,” she’d remind me. “He’s going to take care of you.” My friend was another agent that God enlisted to carry His message of encouragement.
Sometimes God used His Word to comfort and strengthen me. Verses such as Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart,” gave me hope that one day I would have my heart’s desire.
The words of Isaiah, which Jesus quoted in the synagogue, were especially meaningful to me: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…” Jesus had come to heal my hurt; I clung to those words.
For many months, I wrestled with the Lord, pleading with Him to ease my heartache and restore the broken relationship that had caused my grief. Finally, one April evening, I stopped struggling. I put everything aside and spent time listening to the Lord. I wrote in my journal: “I surrender. God, have your way. I trust You to do what is best.” I yielded myself to Him and allowed Him to do the work He needed to do to restore me.
Then, feeling at peace, I went about the business of checking my email and received the news that my husband of 24 years had filed for divorce. The broken relationship would not be mended. In one sense I was shocked, but in another sense, I knew that God had prevented me from receiving the news until I was ready to trust Him with my future. God cared for me in ways I would never have imagined, and when the time was right, I met the man who is now my faithful and loving husband.
Maybe you know what it feels like to be “turned turtle. There are a lot of folks in Baton Rouge who know firsthand what it’s like to have their lives turned upside down.
In August 2016, 20 inches of rain inundated the Baton Rouge area, and thousands were washed out of their homes. Suddenly, people who were used to being independent and self-sufficient found themselves homeless and helpless as the floods overtook their dwellings, soaking all their earthly possessions in mud and dirty water.
For some, their cries may have literally echoed the words of the Psalmist: “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.” Psalm 69:1
Yet a couple of weeks after the flood, Christians who had been displaced by the disaster gathered in church to testify to God’s deliverance from the flood waters. God had mobilized His forces to rescue His people. The “soldier” He called up for duty might have been a fisherman with a boat coming to rescue a stranded family. It might have been a truck driver on the interstate who carried strangers through the rising flood waters. It might have been a clean-up crew with shovels and buckets or an “angel” with a hot meal. God hears the prayers of His people. He doesn’t always spare us from hardships, but He brings us through our troubles and delivers us safely to the other side.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 ESV
Meditate on Psalm 91 and Psalm 34, and be assured that even when you find yourself “turned turtle,” the Lord can and will rescue you.
“Father, I thank You and praise You because You are all-powerful and are fully able to rescue me in every desperate situation. I thank You that You are a very present help in time of need. You don’t always answer my prayers in the way that I expect, but you always do what is best. Help me to trust you, and help me to be obedient when You call me into service to help someone else who needs to be rescued.”
For His Glory,
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