|One of the divers on the rescue team works on the crab pot lines that held the female humpback whale near the Farallon Islands. The weight of the crab pots was pulling the animal down. Marine Mammal Center photo via Associated Press|
[If you're interested in reading the original December 2005 story, here it is from The San Francisco Chronicle: Daring Rescue of whale off Farallones]The Whale
If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.
Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
P's e-mail arrived at a good time -- providence? I was once again going through my "Tasmanian Devil" spinning and fretting over some things to the point of sorrow and tears. But, P's story of The Whale reminded me of the necessity of turning my burdens to friends, rather than just keeping it all to myself to deal with alone.
It seems we all have things we get tangled in, burdens that worry us and pull us down, at times barely keeping our noses above the edge of the water, swimming for all we're worth in a sea of troubles. Fortunately, the Lord sends special friends -- like angels -- into our lives to help cut us free from our bonds and traps. I think of the many times in the Bible where God speaks to various individuals or sends an angel to deliver His message. It is interesting -- and instructive -- how each time God, or the angel, begins with these words: "Fear not."
Genesis 15:1 "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
Deuteronomy 31:8 "And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."
Isaiah 54:4 "Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more."
Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Luke 2:10 "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
Luke 8:50 "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole."
Luke 12:7 "But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:32 "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
John 12:15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt."
Acts 27:24 "Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee."
Revelation 1:17 "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last."
When the Lord draws near, we must not fear. And He is always near. Fear not!