EARTH: Lessons In Risk Taking by Francine Rivers

Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature

Lessons In Risk Taking by Francine Rivers

From: Earth Psalms

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7)

Our family has had many kinds of pets, and one of the most interesting was a turtle. He lived in an aquarium with nice rocks that he could climb. He ate live fish (which was disturbing to watch) and did not appreciate being handled. If someone picked him up, he would disappear inside his shell.

After Rick read an article warning that such turtles carry salmonella, he decided the turtle had to go.  The children and I took a drive out to the coast and stopped in at a ranch reputed to welcome retired horses.  We had seen a large pond with rushes and wild birds (none big enough to carry off a turtle), and we asked if we could release our turtle there.  The gentleman in charge said, Yes.

We tearfully trekked down the hill to the pond and set the turtle on the bank.  He didn’t move.  He had retreated so deeply into his shell, even his nose didn’t stick out.  We waited, hoping.  We tried to reason with him: “Look at that beautiful pond.  Look at all those rushes and that log out there.  There’s probably a girl turtle waiting for you.  You can have little turtlettes.”

Finally, he peered out, and it was time for us to go.  Still a little sad, we headed back up the trail.

Probably all of us have retreated like the turtle at times, too afraid to venture out of the safe shells we’ve built around ourselves.  But if we don’t take the risk and stick our necks out, we might miss the wonderful things God has planned for us.

The apostle Paul’s words, originally written to his protégé Timothy, can encourage all of us: God has not given us a spirit of timidity.  No matter how afraid we feel, the truth is that God has given us his Holy Spirit, and fear has no part of him!  Next time you feel like a turtle, playing it safe behind the walls of protection you’ve erected, remember that God’s Spirit is in you, giving you power, love, and self-discipline.


In what areas of your life are you trying to protect yourself by pulling back?  How might the barriers you’ve erected be keeping you from experiencing God’s best for you?


Choose one specific thing to do this week to “stick your neck out” and take a risk, remembering that God has not given you a spirit of fear.


Dear God, so often I feel like a turtle, retreating into my shell because it’s safe.  But making safety my first priority won’t lead to growth.  I don’t want to miss the opportunities around me because I’m too afraid to take a risk.  You have given me a spirit of courage.  Please help me to trust you, to trust your love for me and your good plans for my life.  Help me to move forward in courage.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
(Psalm 34:4-5)

2 Comments on EARTH: Lessons In Risk Taking by Francine Rivers

  1. Really wonderful — thank you for this post. (I sure hope the little turtle found a happy life in the pond).


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