A Way of Escape
A Longarm Octopus (Macrotritopus defilippi) buries itself in the sandy seafloor of the Intracoastal Waterway. Riviera Beach, Florida.
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
In 2016, an octopus named Inky made international news headlines due to his surprise escape from an aquarium in Napier, New Zealand. Apparently, the lid to Inky's tank was left slightly ajar and Inky capitalized on this moment to stage his great escape. After squeezing his soccer ball-sized body out of his tank, he made his way across the floor to a drainpipe just six inches in diameter. Dropping into the drainpipe, he followed it for 164 feet before finally reaching the ocean and freedom.
Inky's incredible feat demonstrates a number of different capabilities that octopuses are known to have. First, they are highly intelligent observational learners that are capable of problem-solving. Second, their invertebrate bodies have no bones, the only hard part being a small beak used to tear flesh from their prey. As a result, they are able to squish themselves into very small holes, such as a relatively narrow drainpipe. Third, their eight arms are covered with suckers that act as more than just a means of locomotion. Each sucker is also a sensory organ, collecting data from the surrounding environment while the octopus uses it to move. One of the questions that scientists had regarding Inky's escape was how he was able to select the right drainpipe that led to the ocean rather than just getting stuck in a tangle of plumbing within the building's interior. It may be that he used his sucker-covered tentacles to sense which drainpipe discharged into the salty waters of the adjacent waterway. As Inky is now thought to be living his best life in the waters of Hawke's Bay, we will never know for sure.
Inky's great escape also brings to mind God's promise of a way of escape in the face of temptation. Yes, God gives our souls a way to escape death through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but He also offers us ways of escape in our daily lives. I love God's practicality here. While Christianity meets the intellectual tests of heady debates held in the ivory towers of academia, Jesus Christ also offers daily, practical support to you and me as well.
The truth is that followers of Jesus Christ face numerous temptations to sin on a regular basis. A flare of impatience here, a lustful thought there. Moments marked by attitudes of ingratitude and exasperation. The temptation to just throw in the towel rather than being purposeful about pursuing holiness and developing our spiritual fitness can be great. Yes, the temptations are real but they can also be defeated by the power God offers us through Jesus Christ. God, in His great mercy, meets us right there in the middle of these temptations and offers us a way of escape. However, like Inky the Octopus, it is up to us to discern the right path to take. Be diligent to choose the path of life (Psalm 16:11; Proverbs 16:25; Romans 12:2, Proverbs 3:5).