Good news stories are very welcome at the moment. I saw a TV programme this week all about little otters- cubs that were rescued after flooding washed out their homes- being released back into the wild in a safe (unrevealed) location. Obviously, good news for those little otters. Even more than that: it is part of a growing good news story about the recovery of the otter population in the British Isles. Once common, the otter population decreased to the point where they were an endangered species.
Action to safeguard and re-establish otters has started to turn the story round. Cleaner rivers, protected status, and a greater concern for environmental and conservation issues has meant that our chances of seeing an otter in the wild is much increased. It’s still pretty rare, since they hide from humans, and often hunt at night. But at least they are THERE in our rivers and lakes. That is very good news!
My photo was taken in an Otter Conservancy Centre some while ago (getting this close in the wild would be extremely difficult, requiring time and ability far beyond my skills). I love otters! Playful, elegant, quick, curious and simply beautiful. I grew up reading “Tarka” and “Ring of Bright Water” and these books helped instil a love of nature that never left me. That love of nature is realistic- these animals are not cuddly-cute. Supreme hunters- a quick look at the photo shouts” Bad news for Fish!” – their life in the wild is not for the soft-hearted. But they also play with stones, juggling them; they love mudslides, play chasing games, swim in a complex underwater ballet… and they make me smile whenever I see one.
World news is a bit alarming. Insurrection and impeachment, health crisis, political confusion and economic trouble- scandals about pathetically inadequate food parcels, contracts allegedly given corruptly to “chums,” climate change… the list goes on. Spending a few minutes with otters is a pleasant diversion!
Humanity, according to the Holy Bible, has been entrusted with the care of creation; stewardship of the Earth. We’re not making a very good fist of it. But there are signs of hope, and signs of positive change.
Jesus reminds us that He provides food for the birds of the air ( Luke 12:24 ). Since the beginning of time, God has placed the renewable resources upon the earth sufficient to feed, clothe, and house all the people and animals who have ever lived upon the earth. Including otters- and including us. The use we have made of those resources is often a sadder story- and the injustices and calamities of life cry out to Heaven.
Today, as well as encouraging us to think about our attitudes and actions for the good of other people and the world, I’d like to offer a little hope. Even failures and disasters can be put right- otters can swim and play again. Read these words from the Bible, and reflect prayerfully. May your compassion be stirred- and your heart warmed: to be a little ‘otter. (Sorry about the terrible wordplay!) May God’s love inspire our compassionate faithfulness- and remind us to trust in our God, the Provider.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT2) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:19 (NLT2) And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NLT2) And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.