What do you think a plestiodon is? It sounds like it might be a giant dinosaur, and perhaps it’s the topic of the latest archeological find hidden deep in central Africa. Or maybe this giant skeleton was uncovered in a dinosaur graveyard in the hills of Morrison, Cripple Creek, or Cañon City – all in Colorado.
But, you don’t know what a plestiodon is? Neither did I until I looked it up.
It’s not a giant lizard or a dinosaur, and it’s not the focal point of archeology. It’s a little lizard with a bright blue tail. They are also called skinks, which derives from “Scinc” in the Scincidae family.
I saw this lizard one hot summer day when it crawled into the garage to cool off. The problem developed when it crawled onto one of the glue traps I use to reduce the spider, cricket, and beetle populations of the world.
I placed a few drops of WD-40® around its entrapped form. Then, using a twig, I gently lifted its body to allow the oil to dissolve the glue under it, and in a few minutes it was free. But its bright blue tail didn’t make it, and was left wiggling on the glue trap. I placed the reptile in the grass beside the garage. But before it waddled away, it turned and, not moving, looked directly at me for almost a minute. Maybe it was thanking me for saving its life? I don’t know … maybe.
When God designed this critter, He gave it a bright blue tail which can be released in danger. The blue attracts predators; and when they grab it for breakfast, the lizard sheds it and runs for cover. When the tail grows back, it is shorter, and is usually the same color as the rest of the body – but sometimes pink.
This episode in the garage reminded me of another reptilian visit in New Mexico back in 1993. When it tried to hide, it reminded me that many people think they can hide from God, and I wrote a poem about it.
A young lizard came into my shop today;
Left to himself, I thought he’d go away.
But he just stood there looking at me,
Hoping beyond hope that him, I wouldn’t see.
Earlier that day it had been quite warm,
And to open the door would be the norm.
Then the rain began, and I love the sound.
It was then I saw my friend on the ground.
I looked in my shop, but no food was in sight
To give to my friend. But I understood his plight:
It was storming outside and he had discovered
A place of refuge. He knew he’d be covered.
I tried to catch him and take him outside,
But he was too smart and from me he did hide.
“You can’t catch me – you can’t reach under there!”
It was then that I heard my unspoken prayer.
“Lord, am I attempting to hide from You?”
And of course, He answered as if on cue:
“My kids seem to think since they can’t see Me
That I can’t see them; and think they are free.
“I want you to know that I see you today –
At work, at home, at church, and at play.
Go tell My Church that I see them, too.
But oh, how I desire to be in their view!
“If they keep withdrawing themselves from Me,
Whatever they think, they’ll never be free.
Like the lizard, if they don’t want to die,
They must trust in Me; and escape, not to try.”
I searched again to find my small friend.
Then I saw him – heading around the bend!
Using wisdom and stealth, I aimed him outside
Using my right foot as a peculiar guide.
“Lord, unlike this lizard, let me never hide;
Abiding in You may I always confide.
Self-sufficient, I never want to be,
But always believing, and trusting in Thee.
Believe it or not, that episode has stayed with me all these years, and has reminded me to always be transparent to God and to others. I will never hide my faith in Jesus, and I will never hide who I am in Christ. I want to safely rest in the palm of His hands.
As a Christian, my prayer is summarized in Psalm 19:14 – “Let my words and thoughts be acceptable to you, Lord.”
I pray that the church at large will also live by that Psalm.