A couple of weeks ago I came across this brave little guy while out for a walk with my dog. Usually the turtles I meet along the path will quickly pull their necks back into the safety of their shell. Not this guy. I hovered over him like a giant and he continued to stand his turtle ground. Neck out…eyes wide open.
The verse for reflection on the first day comes from Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
As I studied my turtle picture, I wondered, was the risk he took to remain out of his shell a wise thing for him to do? I’m certain it breaks the number one turtle safety rule: When huge giant approaches, retreat, retreat!! Yet, he survived. His choice to not retreat paid off. His choice to keep his eyes open during a threat didn’t cause injury to him.
Just like this turtle, we have similar choices we must make every day. There are times when the best thing we can do is retreat.
“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” (Psalm 61:3) We rest in His arms until the storm is over.
Yet sometimes learning to live intentionally, and making every moment in our day count requires us to stand our ground and to not retreat into the safety of the familiar.
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (Deut 31: 6 Message)
This turtle’s little act of courage reminded me that sometimes the wisest choice we can make is to step out of our comfort zone (stick our neck out) and refuse to close our eyes to the scariness around us.
Sometimes that’s where we discover that the giant situation towering over us is more terrifying in the dark than in the light.
I am reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 3: “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth”
Lord, give us the wisdom today to know what to do. Help us to know when to retreat, when to stand our ground, and when to move forward full speed ahead.
Give us the courage to live with our eyes wide open.