Tadpole Shrimp

November 23

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. - Psalm 37:7 NKJV

People have described the Mojave Desert in southeastern California as a vast wasteland. The plants and ani­mals that live in the Mojave have had to adapt to the hot, dry conditions of their habitat. Spines protect cacti from the intense heat of the sun by deflecting some of its rays, and animals hunt at night when the temper­ature drops. One creature, though, shows an incredible amount of patience as it waits for rain.

Lying in the hardened mud, the eggs of tiny tadpole shrimp stay buried for decades, hatching as soon as a rainstorm creates a tem­porary pond. Although in other deserts heavy rain occurs yearly, in the Mojave rain may not fall for 25 years or even longer. When it fi­nally does rain, the eggs hatch almost imme­diately. After waiting so long, hundreds of thousands of little shrimp are impatient to grow up and lay eggs of their own so that their species will survive. Therefore, within weeks of hatching, the little larvae mature into adult shrimp and lay eggs in the soft mud. They have no time to lose, for when the pond water evaporates—as it surely will—they will die, just as their parents did so many years earlier. But the next generation of eggs is safe in its underground incubator, waiting.

The tadpole shrimp that are now isolated in the Mojave sand are probably the descendants of shrimp that originally lived in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. As the sea receded, the shrimp adapted to a habitat that became drier and drier. And in order to survive. the shrimp had to outlast the long droughts, so the eggs became accustomed to lying dormant for years. In fact. evidence suggests that tadpole shrimp eggs can survive being buried in the mud for a century as they wait for the rain to fall.

As Christians we are waiting patiently for a final outpouring of the Holy Spirit—the Bible refers to this as the “latter rain.” “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds;

He will give them showers of rain.” (Zechariah 10:1). In the meantime, like tadpole shrimp we wait pa­tiently for the rain.

Nature Quest – James & Priscilla Tucker