Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida. Named for its benefactor J. Norwood Darling the refuge was created on Sanibel Island from land donated by concerned citizens. The 6,300 acre refuge has been protecting wildlife since 1945 but officially renamed in Darling’s honor in 1967. 245 species of birds have been sighted at the refuge which has also become home to dozens of protected wildlife. Recently I had the privilege of visiting this island refuge and enjoyed the unspoiled beauty of this area.
The wildlife that make this place their home have a place to thrive without human encroachment or destruction of habitat. They won’t be hunted or harassed. They won’t be threatened or caged. The idea of a place of escape and safety is something that we humans need as well. In the Old Testament, cities of refuge were established for people as places of protection from hasty retribution. These cities were types of the greatest refuge of all: Jesus Christ. Heb. 6:18-20 tells us: “That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus…” The Lord Jesus suffered the punishment for our sins by His death on the cross. We were guilty and we were hunted and haunted by our sins. There was no place to run and nowhere to hide. But then Jesus came and provided a refuge from our wild sinful life. He became heaven’s wildlife refuge.
I will probably visit Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge again when the winter birds return and enjoy the protection of this special place. Have you discovered the greatest refuge of all? Have you personally fled for refuge to Jesus Christ and made Him your Savior and Lord?
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation