“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Have you ever studied turtles? They are interesting creatures to examine. Perhaps the most fascinating feature of a turtle is its shell, which offers protection. It is made of hard, bone plates and shields called scutes. These scutes are made of keratin, which is the primary substance found in the hair and nails of animals and people. You will also find that the shape of the shell will give insights into how the turtle lives. Land turtles have large, dome-shaped shells which make it difficult for land predators to crush the turtles with their jaws. Most aquatic turtles have flatter, stream-lined shells which aid in swimming and diving.
The great strength of the turtle’s shell, however, is not in what we see on the outside, but on the inside. The inner layer of the shell gives it its strength, shape, and support. What a reminder to us that our strength comes from within when we put our faith in the Lord.
The main observation that I have made about turtles is the fact they are slow, and they spook easily. They are quick to seek refuge in their shells, where they remain very still, until the danger has passed. This is where the turtle becomes our teacher. As the turtle seeks refuge in its shell, we are to seek refuge in the Lord. He is our shell and source of security and serenity.
No doubt there have been times in your life, and in your career, when things have gone south really quickly. What began as a normal traffic stop turned into a chase, a domestic call turned into a fight for your life, and on and on the stories could go. When you went back and watched your in-car camera or body camera footage you realized that someone else besides your partner must have been taking care of you.
I remember, in December of 2016, I was inside a house fire that was supposed to have someone trapped inside. The room we were in ended up flashing over on my partner and me. A flashover takes place at approximately 1100 degrees. Statistically speaking, we should not have made it out alive. BUT I had a shelter that was more safe and secure than the PPE that I was wearing! I had a layer of protection that was even stronger on the inside.
We often attribute the good outcome of these close calls to luck. When we have those moments in our lives, however, instead of talking about how lucky we are, may we remember Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” It was God that took care of us, and who will continue taking care of us. Just as the turtle has a shell to seek refuge in, you and I have that safety and security in the Lord.