An image taken underneath a long bridge, showing the supports going into the water.

I grew up on a large inland lake in Michigan. Entire summers were spent ramming around in a small aluminum boat pursuing a favorite pastime—turtle hunting. There were tiny painted turtles—my favorites—and giant snapping turtles and every variety of turtle in between.

One sunny afternoon, my older brother stepped out of the boat and onto a sandy patch of ground in a shallow area of the lake. Great hunter that he was, Bob hopped deftly out of the boat, net in hand in eager pursuit of a turtle he had just spotted. Suddenly he began flailing, falling backwards into the water, letting out a little yelp of fear. It seemed that the sandy bottom of the lake had suddenly given way beneath him. To be more precise, when Bob climbed out of the boat, his feet had mistaken the back of a large, soft shell turtle for the bottom of the lake. The turtle took off, leaving my brother behind.

Those of us watching from the boat could hardly breathe. We were laughing too hard. The story of Bob the Great Hunter and Fearless Turtle Warrior has become part of our family lore, eliciting laughter whenever it’s retold at family gatherings.

Still, anyone who has ever experienced even a mild earthquake will tell you that feeling the earth shift beneath your feet is not that funny. In every life there will be seismic shocks--the death of a loved one, economic downturn, divorce, sickness. When such things happen, it can feel as though deep chasms have opened beneath you. The people and things you have always depended on are revealed in all their frailty.  What then?

It depends on the foundation that’s been built beneath your life. If you have put your hope in God, you will sooner or later experience the truth of his word, which says that “the Eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.” God will carry you. He will make a way. Even if there is fear and pain and sleepless nights, he will not let you fall.





Originally published December 18, 2018.