By: Patty Joyce
I love writing, and part of writing is what I should write about. At times, I don’t have a clue, but must try my best to convey something that has meaning to the reader. For instance, how do I inspire someone not to give up? How do I share words of peace to a troubled soul? How do I unequivocally give God the praise He deserves from my very small library of English words?
My answer is by asking Him – the author of the universe and all that is within it. The subject may not appear immediately, but in His perfect timing, something will spark my spirit and words will begin gathering in my mind.
If you know me well, you know I love nature – any form – from flowers to a huge reptile pet I recently found out about (another fascinating story). Each part of nature is uniquely fashioned by our Creator God. My husband and I are fortunate to have a large pond behind our house and enjoy an array of birds, ducks, cranes, and sometimes turtles.
One day, somehow a very small green turtle made its way into our dog’s outside water bowl. Hmm, I thought, could I nourish this little guy and keep him as a pet? I attempted to, but after a week or so, I decided to take him back to the pond where he could join his other aquatic friends. As I picked him up, he was rather sluggish. He drew back into his shell slowly, alerting me that I had kept him too long and his chances for survival were slim.
I headed toward a patch of water in the grassy pond and saw my neighbor, Lisa. She, of course, wanted to see what I was carrying. Being more surefooted than me, she carefully approached the pond and gently placed him back in the water. We waited and waited for him to show some sign of life. After what seemed like an eternity, the teeny-tiny head, feet, and tail popped out of the shell, and he began his journey home. Our excitement was as great as kids seeing Christmas packages under the tree, but even better because this experience was about something surviving out of its element.
A few days later, I began to compare this small-shelled creature to my life. Like the tiny turtle, we all sometimes want to hide in our safe shell because of fear, rejection, chronic illness, broken relationships, financial difficulties, self-pity, anger, guilt, sin, or even lack of faith. We are not alone in that shell – Holy Spirit is in us reminding us that we need not fear anything that would come against a child of God.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Romans 8:1-2 NASB
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NASB
“Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB
When I fix my eyes on Jesus, I can’t see the temptations that life throws at me every day, and in contrast, if I run in front of Holy Spirit, I can’t see where He is leading.
When you want to hide from the world around you, just remember the little turtle. He wasn’t adapting very well to the surroundings I wanted to give him. He needed to be where God had originally placed him. Like us, when we finally step out of our self-imposed shell, we are greeted by the Body of Christ – a community like no other. We have those who encourage us, forgive us, listen to us, feed us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, mentor us, pray for us, challenge us, accept us as we are, and love us. This is where we become better to share Christ with others.
What better environment is there?