Turtles sitting on a rock. Nothing uncommon, at least not for turtles. Most reptiles, being cold-blooded creatures, like to sun themselves. The only problem was these two turtles were in an artificial pond in the interior of a hotel in Varadero, Cuba. Although their instincts led them to believe otherwise, these two turtles wouldn't find the sun that day nor any other day. The best they could hope for was to gather warmth from the air around them.
I couldn't help but see a metaphor as I watched the turtles. These animals were hard-wired to climb out of the water on a regular basis to seek the sun and its warmth. Age-old natural forces led them to repeat this behavior even though experience would have told them it was a futile endeavor. I couldn't help but think that we, mankind, have an instinctive need to seek God and his warmth, yet many of us fail to see that we aren't looking in the right place. While the turtles have been fenced in against their will, so many of us find ourselves shut off from God's light due to our own choices. God seeks us out and something inside each of us longs for him, yet we remain trapped behind walls of our own making, walls that keep us from going to him for the life-giving warmth that he gives. Some suffer behind walls of intellectual pride. Others find their way to God blocked by some sin that gets between them and their Maker, something they just don't want to let go of. Many people can't see past their possessions or their ambitions. For some it's past hurts, for others it's fear of the future. We're driven to seek God, yet often settle for a substitute, settle for something that doesn't fully satisfy.
Thousands of years ago, a Hebrew poet wrote: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). It took me some years to realize that the second part of that verse depends on the first part. When we learn to delight ourselves in the Lord, he becomes the principle desire of our heart. He becomes what we seek above all else. That's the secret to true contentment. When we learn to seek God above all else, we either receive the other things that we want or we discover that those things are merely substitutes that will never satisfy the longings of our heart.
Just as those turtles are driven to seek the sun, there is something inside of us that needs God. Unlike those turtles, we have the power to put ourselves in the position of not only seeking what we need, but finding him as well. I'd like to help you find the warmth of God's love if you're having trouble finding it. Just write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment at www.hopeforlife.org/blog. You don't have to spend the rest of your life looking in the wrong place.