Sunday, May 8, 2011

God and the Dolphins

Recently my family visited a big aquarium that has a dolphin show. As we watched these beautiful creatures leap through the air with flips and twists and amazing synchronized arches over the water, I admit that tears ran down my cheeks.  It was just so beautiful to see these lovely creations of God in a playful and graceful celebration of life.  For some reason it reminded me of God, His beauty and gracefulness seen in these animals He made.

Later on I found a library book that was a dolphin story, so I read that aloud to the kids since we'd just seen the show.  I was struck by this amazing true story of a man rescued by dolphins, and once again I saw a God connection.

The book is called Dolphin Treasure, and the author, Wayne Grover, befriended a family of dolphins while diving off the Florida coast.  In the book he describes an experience he had with one of the dolphins.  He had been diving with friends a few miles offshore looking for treasure from a Spanish shipwreck, and the weather had become treacherous.  He foolishly made one more dive to pull out an artifact he had glimpsed on his previous dive, and when he surfaced, his boat and crew were gone, pulled away by the wind and storm that had come upon them.  Wayne found himself floating alone in the ocean.  Nearing exhaustion in the middle of the night, he felt something bump against him.  When he reached out his hand, he felt the rough skin of a shark inches away.  He was about to be killed by sharks!

At just that moment, as hopelessness and anguish swept over him, he heard a sound followed by sharp clicking noises.  His friends the dolphins had arrived just in time, and they quickly drove the sharks away! The dolphin he knew best came to him and allowed him to grab onto his dorsal fin; then, the dolphin began gently swimming toward the shore. Yet Wayne was so weak he couldn't hold on to the dolphin, and he kept slipping off.  The dolphin communicated to a companion nearby, who came up on the other side of Wayne and lifted him from underneath.  So one dolphin was pulling him and another was supporting his weight, buoying him up so he could be brought along in the water.

As the day dawned, they finally neared the shore and the dolphins moved back a little.  Wayne stood up - he was in shallow water near the beach. He was saved!  He turned around and the dolphins were chattering and swimming around as if in joy about his rescue.  The dolphin he knew best jumped up high in the air as if in triumph.

What an amazing story!  It's unbelievable but true!

And as I read this aloud to the kids, it dawned on me how much these dolphins acted just as the Holy Spirit acts with us.  He is called our Paraclete, which means "one called alongside to help."  He is there to lift us up when we can't go on, there to lead us out of trouble, there to fight off enemy attacks, there to be the strength we don't have.  He is the One buoying us up from beneath, for underneath us are His everlasting arms.  And He is the One guiding us into the way ahead, gently leading us along.

He's always there to help at a moment's notice.  He won't ever let us down!  Our enemy is already defeated and is no match for our Paraclete!  Even after we have blown it and gotten ourselves into a mess of our own making, He is there for us, helping, rescuing, carrying us along, fellowshipping with us as if nothing had happened, because in His eyes, nothing has - our sins can't ever keep Him from us, because they've already been taken away at the cross and we have been forever cleansed and joined to Him, our Paraclete, forever!  This union with Him means I'm never ever alone in any problem I face, even if I feel alone, even if I get confused, fail, or seem to forget about Him.  He is still there for me, and He will be there for me forever!

And just like the dolphins celebrated over Wayne, the dear Holy Spirit celebrates over us.  He dances and sings and leaps and twirls with joy that we are God's beloved ones.  He has pure delight and happiness about us!  His presence with us is the constant experiential reminder that we are loved, accepted, safe, kept, right, complete, full and delighted in by God Himself.

God wants a relationship with me.  He doesn't want to save me so I can be His worker.  He saved me to be His beloved little child!  He wants fellowship, interaction, a relationship that is so open and free and full of trust that I can be myself, be totally real, and never fear rejection.  I have been welcomed into His arms forever.  He is sharing all of Himself with me.  This is a wonderful love relationship, the kind I've always longed for, of mutual sharing and joy.  Out of that wonderful celebration of love comes the power that will change this world and bring His kingdom of love to earth.  Wow!

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14