Like the Turtle, Know & Guard Your Weaknesses

An illustration from the book, "Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles: Drawn from Life," by James de Carle Sowerby and Edward Lear, published in 1872.

An illustration from the book, “Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles: Drawn from Life,” by James de Carle Sowerby and Edward Lear, published in 1872.

My Darling Child,

The Bible is full of wonderful analogies and parables about animals. The writer of Proverbs 6 wants us to “go the the ant.” The prophet Isaiah laments that, “all we like sheep have gone astray.” Jesus declares that God sees even the smallest sparrow fall, so certainly He will care for His children whom He loves. Here is a little animal analogy of my own.

The turtle, or tortoise, is a vulnerable creature. His soft head, wrinkly neck, fleshy legs, and stumpy tail are easily torn by cat’s claws, dog’s jaws, or a hungry hawk’s beak. But the turtle knows his weaknesses, and when he senses danger, he tucks his head and limbs deep into his shell. Once he’s holed up inside, not even the cleverest or strongest predators can get at him without a great deal of difficulty.

Like the turtle, we all have our weak spots. Some of us are susceptible to flattery. Some to drinking. Others to lust or sexuality. The thing that makes us the strongest is not sweeping our weaknesses under the rug and pretending they don’t exist, but rather acknowledging our vulnerabilities so that we know when to tuck in and protect our extremities.

When you are confronted with something you know is poking and prodding at your weak spot, enclose yourself in the Holy Spirit by burying yourself in prayer. Pray that God would strengthen you, protect you, defend you, and uphold you. Confess your weakness both to yourself and to Christ. Once you have done that – once your holed up in the bulwark of God’s Spirit – not even Satan himself will be able to pry you out again.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 27:1-5

Promise Me You’ll Love God More Than Me

Sara Holding a Cat, by Mary Cassatt, 1908

Sara Holding a Cat, by Mary Cassatt, 1908

My Darling Child,

I hope you know that I love you so desperately. It hurts me to say this, but you need to know that someday I will let you down.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”

Sadly, most children are warranted in judging their parents. The rosy idealism of childhood eventually wears off, and they see their mother and father for who they truly are; fallible and weak human beings with misplaced priorities, sinful habits, and obnoxious eccentricities.

Whether I disappoint you by falling into sin, not being there when you need me the most, or if God calls me home and I’m not there to see you grow into the loving and dynamic adult I know you’ll grow up to be, please forgive me, My Darling Child.

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.” Psalm 146:3-4

You’re life will be filled with family, friends, and those who inspire you. Love them. Cherish them. But never rely too much on them. It is so easy to allow those we love – and those who love us – to become idols in our hearts; to grow more influential over our thoughts and feelings than God.

Make Christ your sure foundation, your faithful friend, and your advocate. Make the Father your protector, provider, and refuge in the storm. Let the Spirit be your comforter, counselor, and constant inspiration.

Never let go of God. Even when He seems far, far away, He’ll be right there by your side.

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:15-20