According to Live Science, turtles are reptiles with hard shells that protect them from predators. They are among the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles, having evolved millions of years ago. Turtles live all over the world in almost every type of climate. There are more than 300 species of “turtles” in our world today. Turtles spend most of their lives in water. They have webbed feet or flippers and a streamlined body. Sea turtles rarely leave the ocean, except to lay eggs in the sand. Freshwater turtles live in ponds and lakes, and they climb out of the water onto logs or rocks to bask in the sun. Most turtles have the ability to pull their heads and extremities into their shells to protect themselves from danger. Wouldn’t it be great if we - as human beings – could do the same thing? What would it be like to have a shelter always available? Would you spend more time in “retreat” or more time outside in the world? Turtles are interesting creatures and we can learn a lot from them, especially if we apply the lessons to our spiritual lives.
How do you protect yourself from “spiritual dangers” – like temptation, sinful thoughts, or lack of faith? Do you “pull yourself inward?” Or do you move outward and tackle these dangers head on? Do you retreat first and pray? Or do you “do battle” first and then pray afterward? It’s a difficult world we live in, isn’t it? Many times our actions are an inadvertent witness for or against our faith. Do you view the turtle’s shell as a safe-haven or a fortress? Do you view prayer as the first and best response or a “last resort?” It’s really how we view our faith. Do you view your faith as a “comfort” or an “escape?”
These are all important issues in developing our confidence and faith in God. How we view prayer is crucial in our understanding our identity in Christ. I encourage you to think about your answers to the questions I posed. Go deep into your soul to find your heart. Look at a turtle and imagine the life it has. Imagine what predators and other dangers it faces.
Rev. Bev Hall, pastor of Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church, Middleburg Heights, OH