WE NEED OUR PROBLEMS

by David Sisler

It could be a lesson to illustrate the saying, "leave well enough alone."

It could be an object lesson in old fashioned humility.

I think it illustrates something even more basic struggle is an important part of life. More simply put, we need our problems.

The story was told by Michael Blumenthal and appeared in the New York Times. Mr. Blumenthal was one of eight travelers exploring the white-sand beaches of the Galapagos chain. They were looking for the nesting sites of Pacific green sea turtles.

These little creatures, which may grow to over 300 pounds, are part of a powerful symphony from nature. The baton is raised at dusk when the first hatchling ventures out and makes a dash for the safety of the sea. The arrangement intensifies when the turtle's siblings sense it is safe to follow and they begin to peck their way out of their eggs. The performance swells to a crescendo as a frenzy of mockingbirds, boobies, gulls and eagles swoops down to eat the tiny performers. As the last turtles slip into the ocean, the only sounds are the unevenly blended screeching birds and the softly lapping waves.

The group arrived as the first tiny sea turtle poked his head out of the sand. They watched a mockingbird circle and then land close to the hatchling's head. The bird edged closer and began to attack the turtle.

One of the observers turned to the guide and demanded, "Aren't you going to do something?"

Another traveller spoke up and said, "I'm not going to sit here and watch this happen."

The guide tried to quiet the group. "This is nature's way," he said.

When the noise of the watchers chased the bird away, the guide reluctantly pulled the hatchling out of its hole. Freed from the restraints of the sand, it began its trek to the sea. Almost at once the beach was filled with baby turtles who had received a false signal that it was safe.

Moments later the consequences of the humans' interference was tragically accented. The mad rush was too early. The sky was too light. With no place to hide, dozens of turtles perished as scores of island birds dived to the sand.

Rescuers scooped up a few turtles and waded into the sea to release them, but the damage was done. The carnage was on.

When David wrote Psalm 34, his life was in jeopardy. King Saul had tried to kill him and armed patrols were actively trying to locate the young shepherd. In that setting David wrote, "O taste and see that the Lord is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"

When the Soviet empire crumbled, we began to believe there were no problems we could not defeat by our own initiative. Gradually that sense of euphoria has been replaced by a growing despair. One difficulty is conquered and a new obstacle is just waiting to crush us.

What do we do with our problems? Do we wait for someone to pick us out of our shells and risk exposure to circumstances for which we are not ready? Or do we peck, and chip, and struggle and then when the time is right, burst out into new adventures, new hopes and yes, even new problems? But problems which we are now equipped to face and overcome.

Maybe you think you would be better off if you had fewer problems. If you have never been between a rock and a hard place, what would you know about being rescued? If you have never been put down, what would you know about being picked up? If you have never been miserable, what do you know about joy?

Take one more look at David's confidence: "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." That confidence comes from trusting a God who promised, "I will not let life overwhelm you. I will be with you in your problems. I have already faced what you are facing and I have prepared an escape route just for you."

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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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