Rocky Turtle

"You will keep in perfect peace those
whose minds are steadfast, because they trust
in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord,
the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal."

Isaiah 26:3-4 NIVUK

There have been some things in the life of my household that have been challenging lately, and the temptation to worry and be anxious has arisen once again. Such times are not new to us, and I imagine that the same is true for you! In the past, I have found great comfort in the words and truth of the verses above; and so, once again, I turned to them for reassurance and help in my thoughts and prayers. I turned to God, seeking the strength to remain steadfast in mind and the fulfilment of His promise of peace.

I used to help run an after school club called "Well-Versed Kids," and as part of the program each week, we taught the children memory verse songs. The songs make it easier to learn the Bible verses, and it's also fun for them! One of the songs was used while learning Isaiah 26:3-4, and for my three children, it has become known as "The Rocky Turtle Song" due to the way the final words sound when sung!

"...the Lord is the Rock eternal" (or the "Rocky Turtle").

Our family spent some vacation time this past summer at a campground near a lake with its own access to the water. It seems our whole family has grown "webbed feet" due to the many hours spent swimming, canoeing, paddle-boarding (much harder than it looks!), and just larking about in the lake. One day, I was taking photographs of the varied hues and shapes of rocks and stones found on the beach when I remembered the verse. These rocks, each featuring their own beauty and story in detail and ancient history, drew me to worship our Awesome Creator.

The stones were there long before me and will remain long after. I wondered to myself whether the Lord might be trying to tell me something of which I should take more careful note. The troubles in my heart were shared by the whole family, so I tried to think of a way to also share the wisdom and truth of these verses with them. So I began to gather pebbles. "Perhaps we could paint turtles on these small 'temporal rocks,' I enthusiastically suggested, "serving as a reminder in the months to come of 'The Rocky Turtle' whom we can trust."

A fellow camper approached, noticing I was preoccupied with the stones. She pointed out to me a fairly large stone (pictured above) near the water's edge -- a dense textured rock that was greeny-blue in colour with unusual markings and shapes on it. "This is fossilized," she told me. "If you look carefully here...and over on the other side there, you can see parts of around five or six turtles that have left their marks on this rock!"

I could see parts of the imprinted shells, legs, tails, sections of a head. My eyes began to well with tears as I became convinced that this was confirmation from my Lord, a gift to minister so personally -- and in such a timely fashion -- to my heart! I called the children out of the water to show them, and they spent some time trying to dig away at the surrounding sand to see more of the shapes.

We did indeed paint on the pebbles, and each of the children now has their own displayed on the desk of their room. A larger one is placed on our mantelpiece so we can remember the verse and the peace-bringing, fear-defeating, everlasting truth it recalls for us. We know that this truth is not for us alone!

God's promises are for all of His children, whether here in Canada, or in other parts of the world where identity in Christ means suffering and trial -- even unto death. He does not promise that troubles will not come. Rather, He promises to give peace to those who are steadfast in their trust of Him. Peace that is available in the midst of any storm, any trial, in the face of any persecution -- but we need to trust Him! We need to believe He is who He says He is and that He can do all that He says He can do. He is able. He is Sovereign. And He is worthy of all our thanks and praise!

No matter how dark the night, nor how difficult the
path we are asked to walk, there is peace -- perfect peace
-- to be found as we trust in "the Rock eternal!"

The reliable truth that God is faithful is a firm place to stand for all who call upon His name. There are many who call from the troubled places of the world, but we know that they also give thanks and praise to the One who helps them and prepares a place for them...who sees all and will return to judge one day. You are helping them to stand firm by your prayers and gifts.

We, who work at VOM Canada, are constantly encouraged and enabled by the faithfulness of friends to the ministry such as yourselves. We know that apart from God we can accomplish nothing; and without those who support us, we could do so much less than we do.

Gratefully in Christ,


Jo Phillips
CEO's Executive Assistant
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada