Psalm 55 - Turtles Remind Me to Rest and Take Shelter

In this Psalm, David is praying desperately to God about his deep agony and fear over the betrayal of one of his close friends. He is so overwhelmed that he just wants to escape from it all. 

I love David’s expression; “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert. I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” 

I have pet Box Turtles. Five years ago, I rescued one from the street. Then another one came to the gate trying to get in, only this one looked like a lawn mower had run over the top of his shell, so I let him in. Three more have since moved in.  

Our back yard has become their shelter and they live in our gardens under the plants. I can watch them from our patio. The turtles that have been around for a while have learned to trust me, especially when I give them treats. I don’t know that they will ever trust me 100 percent but that’s ok. It’s part of their survival.

For the most part they are slow and think carefully before they decide where to go. But when they feel threatened or scared, they immediately close their shell. When they feel it’s safe to come out, they will turn around and hurry back to their place of shelter under the plants.

They remind me to stop and think when I am frustrated so I won’t say something that I might regret. Our patio has become my pocket of peace and a place of shelter. I can leave my fears and thoughts behind and it is there that I feel God’s presence. My desperate prayers become prayers of thanksgiving for all that God has giving me. 

We all have experienced troubles and doubts within a friendship or some relationship at some time in our life.

Some days our fears can be more overwhelming than others. When you are in that place where you feel like the world is caving in on you, hurry to your place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.  Call to God and the Lord will save you.

Pam Woody is Director of Media and Sound Ministries at Livingston First United Methodist Church. She and her husband, the Rev. Steve Woody and the rest of the congregation invite you to come worship with them when you are in the area.

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