Painted turtles are the most widespread native turtles of North America. And they are another fascinating creation by God! For the winter they bury themselves, usually on the bottom of a pond, lake or river. When hibernating underwater, these turtles prefer shallow depths of no more than 2 m. Within the mud, they may dig down an additional 1 m. In this state, painted turtles do not breathe, although if surroundings allow, they may get some oxygen through their skin. The species is one of the best-studied vertebrates able to survive long periods without oxygen. Adaptations of their blood chemistry, brain, heart, and particularly their shells allow them to survive extreme lactic acid buildup while oxygen-deprived.
The shell of painted turtles is in many ways their hiding place from predators and their shield from dangers of all kinds. It’s an instant bunker! What an ideal set-up!
We’ve got a similar set-up in our relationship with God. The psalmist words it this way in Ps.119:114 (The Voice):
“You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word.”
God Himself is that kind of protection for us. He keeps us alive when predators of all sorts try to get at us. He balances our internal lives. He shields us from damaging influences, and is our place of refuge and rest. He is always around us, and we can easily retreat into Him.
This is what the psalmist in Ps.119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is emphasizing again and again: we can rely on God and His word. He is trustworthy. He keeps His promises and stands by His every word. That’s why we need to bask in His word and presence every day. That’s what turtles do, too.
Painted turtles start their day at sunrise, emerging from the water to bask for several hours. Warmed for activity, they return to the water to forage. After becoming chilled, turtles re-emerge for one to two more cycles of basking and feeding.
Turtles need that kind of basking in the sun on a regular basis, just like we need to bask in the Son of God’s presence, engage with Him and His word, and gain our energy for every day. It’s a good thing to do this early in the morning as the same Psalm 119 states in verse 147:
“I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words.” And it’s a good thing to reconnect throughout the day as it says in v.97: “Oh, how I love Your law! I fix my mind on it all day long.”
Re-emerging for more cycles of basking in God’s light and feeding on His word is what we need regularly. So take some time right now to bask in God’s light.
We are a pastoral couple named Stefan & Heidi König. We have many years of experience in various ministries, and are thankful that God has given us this property to use as a way to bless others who need a place to relax and reconnect with Him.
Kingfisher Spiritual Direction
Direct your heart to Jesus and restore your soul. If you need to hear from God, to grow deeper with Him, consider spiritual direction. An ancient discipline of soul care, Heidi is trained to prayerfully lead you in this practice.