I just learned about horseshoe crabs. All ocean creatures are mysterious and weird to a girl from the West Texas prairie, but crabs are particularly weird. Did you know that a horseshoe crab will die if it becomes stuck on its back and cannot get back into the ocean? It makes sense – they belong in the water.
Horseshoe crabs are important in many ways. Besides being a fascinating piece of God’s workmanship, their eggs provide a food source for birds and their shells and blood have special medical properties that help millions. Turning them right side up when they are flailing helplessly on their backs seems like an easy thing to do.
They are worth saving.
Coincidentally, a crab trapped on its back in deep sand is much like a woman I met today. She was flailing helplessly because circumstances and her own bad decisions have put her in very desperate straits. Raw emotions, poor health and an abusive past were evident in her searching eyes. Pain and anxiety radiated from her drawn features; tearstains streaked her face.
As she explained the reasons for her desperation, it was apparent she was used to seeking assistance. Obviously, a critical state of need was her usual condition. Have you ever heard a young mother begging for help? The question was not whether or not we should help her, but how to best go about it. She needed us to be wise.
She is worth saving.
Why do horseshoe crabs risk their lives by venturing out of the ocean at all? Do they realize what they might run into? It seems God made them unable to right themselves on purpose.
Why do some people need help when others seem to do just fine on their own?
“…the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
Jesus Christ knew the Pharisee’s hearts when he told them story of the Good Samaritan. He knows our hearts, as well. Horseshoe crab people, like the wounded man, do not fit neatly into our lives; they are seldom convenient. Nevertheless, sin-stained, broken hearts crave the forever love that our restored hearts can give. God restored us to Him; we can lead them to His restoration, too.
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
The truth is we are all horseshoe crabs. Some of us march confidently back into the big ocean, to swim in safe waters and live our lives without fear of flailing. Seeing a brother or sister crab upside down on our way to the water, sometimes, we look away. Quickly, we waddle by. We have counted the cost and we are unwilling to pay it.
Jesus laid His life down for us. We are crucified with Christ, nevertheless, we live; yet the life we now live is by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. Our life is not our own, it was bought with a price, the precious blood of Christ.