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Loggerhead sea turtles are navigational savants.

Against all odds, they somehow “know” exactly where they’re going – even though they usually swim the world’s oceans alone.

Baby loggerheads aren’t much to look at.  They are about two inches long and weigh less than one ounce.

If they can survive their harrowing first walk from their nest on a Florida beach to reach the ocean, they quickly begin to gain weight.  Adults tip the scales at around 300 pounds, although some have been known to exceed 1,000 pounds.  Talk about pandemic weight gain.

Baby sea turtles, upon reaching the Atlantic, begin an 8,000-mile swim to the coast of Africa and back – a journey that will take them 10 years.

No one teaches them how to do this.  Loggerheads are blessed with a substance call magnetite in their brains.  It somehow allows them to align their journeys with the Earth’s magnetic poles.

Chinook salmon, likewise, after spending years in the heart of the ocean, swim up to 1,000 miles to venture back up the very streams where they were hatched.

Barn swallows, those small but magnificently colored birds that are common summer residents in central Indiana, don’t stick around to see what our winters might be like.

Right now they are flying relentlessly toward their “second summer” in southern Brazil or Argentina – more than half a world away.  Studies have shown that a barn swallow can fly up to twomillion miles over the course of its lifetime. 

Relying on the position of the sun, and without any help from Google Maps, the same swallows will return to a particular Hoosier barn where they nested the previous summer.  They seem to have GPS trackers in their brains.

Before such feats of animal navigation, we can only stand in awe.  After all, we’re the creatures who shop at Target for 20 minutes, only to emerge from the store and have no idea where we parked.  Why aren’t we endowed with the innate navigational skills of salmon, swallows, and sea turtles?

The answer is that we can do something else. 

We can ask for help.

First, there’s the gift of other people.  Ideally we can live in in an environment where we can help each other navigate through daily life.

I wouldn’t order that particular burrito if I were you.  Here’s the name of a trustworthy plumber.  Let me tell you how I talked to my kids about drugs.  Here’s a book that really helped my spouse and me when we were so discouraged we thought about breaking up. 

The Bible describes an even more powerful gift:  “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.”  (James 1:5, The Message)

Don’t feel discouraged if you didn’t get any magnetite for your birthday this year.

Wise people are wise people primarily because they are humble enough to ask for help.  Especially God’s help.  

And God is more than willing to guide us to our destinations in the days ahead.