But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” – John 10:2-5
Our family has a new pet turtle. He is adorable. I know, I never thought that word could be used for a turtle either, but trust me on this. Adorable.
His name is Sammy. He’s 2-1/2 inches long and what a sweet turtle he is. He has gone from being in terror night and day to never even pulling into his shell as long as it’s just the 4 of us here at home. In fact, when the kids came home from a weekend away yesterday, that turtle almost hurt himself swimming back and forth as fast as he could in the front of the tank. He would swim up to them and just dance there. He recognized his people. It melted my heart to see it. Sweet little turtle.
He’s a water turtle, a red-eared slider. We’ve spent time each day holding him and petting him and talking to him so that he would acclimate to his home and know that he is safe here with us.
While the kids were gone this weekend, I was in charge of feeding Sammy. He’s only used to seeing me at the tank when I’m standing. I think that’s what caused the confusion on Saturday, but I it really hit home with me. Here’s what happened:
I went over to the tank in my chair, since Saturday was a dizzy day. I talked to him the entire time I was heading over, so that I wouldn’t startle Sammy. He swam happily up to the spot at the tank where I was standing. I was talking, he was dancing. He recognized my voice. Then it was like he focused long enough to recognize that I didn’t look as I usually did, since I was sitting instead of standing. He immediately panicked and spun around and went away to hide at top speed. I would talk, he would swim back, then he would see me and spin around to hide again. Over and over. He just couldn’t reconcile the voice he trusted with the image he was seeing. Poor sweet Sammy. He was a confused turtle.
It hit me as I sat there, that I’m a confused turtle sometimes, too. I know my master’s voice. I run happily to where He is as soon as I hear Him approaching. I dance there in joy. Then as I begin to recognize the chaos around me, I am distracted enough to forget that I know this voice. I know this person. He is my people. Or rather, I am His.
Do you ever feel that way? Like these things you’re facing surely don’t belong to the voice you’ve come to trust? Like all those hours spent with someone holding you safely can’t erase the fear that crops up when we face scary changes?
I kept telling Sammy that day, “It’s me, silly turtle!” I could see God grinning when I thought back over it.
It’s Him, Dear One. We know that voice. Let’s trust it.
Father God, what a blessing it is to know Your voice. What a blessing to be Your people. Help our sense to override our fears. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…
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