Fossil Fantasies

Author: Peter J. McDonough — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: April 5, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Fossil Fantasies

READ: 1 CHRONICLES 29:10-14; PSALM 62:5-8; EPHESIANS 2:4-10

Emil hadn’t dreamt about dinosaurs since he was eight. Yet here he was with a full-sized Tyrannosaurus rex, in a top hat no less, right in front of him.

“If you’re going to eat me, do it quickly, I have other things I’d rather be dreaming about,” Emil said, surprised by his lucidity. Usually, he couldn’t control what he said or did in his dreams, but this one seemed different. Emil scrunched his eyes shut and concentrated. He opened them to see his determination had paid off—he was floating above the ground! With sheer joy, he flew up several more feet, twirling in the air with a happy yell before floating right in front of the perturbed looking T. rex. Then it spoke, “If you’re done lollygagging, we haven’t much time, so listen closely.” Emil was taken aback by the dinosaur’s voice. “Gra-Grandma?”

“Don’t be absurd. I’m a talking dream dinosaur. I’m just using your grandma’s voice to tell you a valuable lesson,” the T. rex stated matter-of-factly.

“Okay…what’d you want to talk about?” Emil floated around the dino’s head, his impatience and curiosity growing. He was startled when the T. rex began speaking telepathically. “Power and success have become familiar to you. You’re a whiz in your classes, a social butterfly, and, let’s face it, your volleyball team wouldn’t have made it to state without you.”

Emil smiled. Whatever this dino had to say, he could handle it. In here he felt like he could handle anything. Still floating, he did a double-front flip. The Tyrannosaur voiced like his grandma continued. “I said listen. There are things bigger than you and me. What you’ve done and what you have are not really yours. You need to recognize a higher force at play.”

Emil was about to try a backflip, but he hesitated at her remark. “I wanted to prove I could do it. That I could be someone others were proud of…someone they would love.” Emil was shaken by his honesty. He’d never said these anxieties out loud before. He could feel a lump forming in his throat as he thought of how overwhelming it really was to live “the life” that seemed perfect, fooling even himself. He knew that the high school achievements he’d craved so desperately meant he had missed out on other stuff he loved to do. Hanging out with his family, doing a Bible study with his two best friends…and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken out the dinosaur books and figurines he kept in his room where no one could find them.

The Tyrannosaur softened her eyes. “Your family and friends are proud of you and love you no matter what you do, Emil. More importantly, someone greater than us all treasures you. He loves you with an intense and deep passion, and there is nothing you can do to earn His overwhelming grace in your life. He sees all your shortcomings, all your failures, all your hidden sins…yet His love for you is not changed. Through Jesus’s death and resurrection, He made the way to forgive you. There is no score, or medal, or certificate required. Jesus has already fulfilled the requirement. He died for you. He wants you just as you are. And He invites you into the freedom of enjoying relationship with Him, following where He leads, and glorifying Him in everything you do.”

The T. rex began to grow foggier, and Emil realized he was waking up. Once back in his bedroom, Emil felt strangely empowered, just like in his dream. Not by any power from his own efforts, but by the work of the One who loved him. • Peter J. McDonough

• Society and culture tell us that, in order to have value or be honored, we need to do things. The pressure to perform can be overwhelming, especially if, like Emil, you just want to make your loved ones proud. But take heart, God loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are or what we’ve done. He is the One who came to die on the cross to save us. None of us deserve His love and sacrifice, but He gives it to us freely. Through Jesus, we are invited into a personal relationship with our Creator—and into His family, the church (Romans 15:7). This is good news! How could it befreeing to rest in the work Jesus has done for us, rather than constantly trying to earn favor with God and people?

• It’s easy to want to take credit for things we’ve accomplished in our lives, especially if we’ve worked hard for success. But everything we’re capable of doing is a gift from God. He created our minds and bodies, and we are called to use our lives to glorify Him rather than ourselves, and the way we glorify God is often by serving our neighbors (1 Timothy 6:13-21). Consider taking some time to write down some of the gifts, abilities, opportunities, and special interests God has given you. Then thank Him for all of these, and ask Him to help you see how you could use them to glorify Him and serve the people around you. (In addition to talking to God, who are trusted Christians in your life you could talk to about these things?)

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. 1 Chronicles 29:11a (NIV)