“Shout to the LORD forever, for the Lord is a rock eternal.” So says the Scripture (Isaiah 26:3-4) and so says the Seeds Family Worship album.
Years ago, I ran to this song each morning (long before I started working full-time and no longer had time to run in the mornings), and I always heard “the Lord is a Rocky Turtle.”
Since that time, I have started collecting Rocky Turtles. Not just random turtles…each turtle is a symbol to me of God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I find the perfect turtle but I have no reason to buy it. But each time, I buy the turtle and then put it away until God performs a small miracle in my life…a miracle to remind me that He loves me, that He cares for me, that He truly is my Rock Eternal. Then I allow myself to unwrap the turtle and add him to my collection.
The big turtle in this picture represents a major move of God in my life. Several years ago, after it became clear that my husband’s brain injury would not allow him to work again, I realized that I needed to find a full-time job. Not only was I going to be the main breadwinner in our family, I was going to be the only breadwinner.
That summer, we were visiting the National Zoo in DC, not too far from our home in the northwest suburbs. We visited the turtle habitat and right outside we found a booth selling carved turtles in various shapes and sizes. I was depressed from being unemployed and fearful about what kind of job God might have for me. But I bought one of the biggest Rocky Turtles that they sold (within my budget), and put him in his beautiful satin-lined case. I told my husband that he could give me the turtle on the day I got a job.
That turtle has now been on my desk in three separate offices, spanning two different jobs. I have also brought in his cousin, the small guy in the picture above. I try to use these turtles to talk with my co-workers about my faith. But mostly, these turtles sit on my desk to remind me of God’s love and faithfulness. These turtles are a reminder that even though I would rather be home cooking, cleaning, and yes, even doing laundry (!), God has a purpose for me and is faithful in placing me where I am.
Yet even with God’s lovingkindness in bringing me to two different jobs, I long for a job closer to home with more stimulating work. I have been looking for still another job for many months now, with very little success.
Last week our company held its quarterly all-hands meeting. I was surprised (and a bit disappointed) to realize that I have already attended four such meetings since I started this job. The meeting seemed to be a reminder that I was stuck, that God didn’t care enough to move me into the job of my dreams, that I might well continue commuting 45 minutes each way for the foreseeable future.
When I returned to my desk from our quarterly meeting, I discovered a surprise:
Someone at work had anonymously blessed me with a bracelet of coral turtles.
I still long for a new job. I still long for the day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and life’s disappointments will seem small in comparison to the “weight of glory that will be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). But in the meantime, this bracelet is a tangible reminder that God is at work. I am proudly wearing my bracelet of rocky turtles to remind myself that God’s purposes will not be thwarted and that I can bring Him glory right where I am, even if it’s not where I want to be.