Going up the dirt road to the farm this week I met a snapping turtle. He(or she) was crossing when i stopped to get a closer look. At first he did his best to continue on ignoring me, then as I came closer he turned to prepare for an attack that never came. For some reason I remembered the scene from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “Beware the oppressor, He’s very oppressive!” The Dufflepuds warn Lucy.
To the turtle I seemed a very likely oppressor, but just as in CS Lewis’ book, I was in fact not at all interested in harming him. In the Bible there is a story that in some ways conveys the picture of a servant with the same kind of thinking.
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ Matthew 25:24-25
In the turtle I saw a reflection of my own short-sightedness, defensiveness and fear in my relationship with God. I look fearfully about in those moments when I feel Him coming closer and sometimes try to take refuge in my own shell. When I am cornered I sometimes snap out at people around me. But in place of being safe in my shell, instead I thrash about like Peter when he got his eyes off of Jesus and he began to sink beneath the waves. Thank God that in the same way Jesus reached out immediately when Peter called for help, so also He hears my cry and comes to my rescue. Just like Peter, God’s grace reaches me and together he brings me safely back to His boat.
What a friend we have in Jesus
Al our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer