I remember an occasion when I became upset with a group of church leaders because of my disappointment with their attendance at a function. This disappointment was the culmination of several disappointing actions. Instead of communicating and trying to resolve the issue I withdrew into my shell. Was the danger still there? Did my withdrawal help anything? The answer is yes and no. The problem was still present when I withdrew into my shell. No, withdrawing did not help things. It was there when I came out.
A fourth lesson is that there is an appropriate time to retreat. Hiding from a car is inappropriate for the turtle because it accomplishes nothing. However, retreating when a dog comes snooping would be appropriate. Unfortunately, the turtle does not have the ability to discern when hiding is appropriate or inappropriate.
We may not be able to hide from problems. However, God gives us a way (like he has given the turtle a shell) to protect ourselves when threats come our way. As stated in the previous paragraph, there is an appropriate time to retreat. When Jesus faced the pressing demands of life He often retreated to a quiet place, such as a mountain or garden, to pray and spend time with God. As a man of God, I should learn the art of retreating. This should be built into my schedule.
Retreating becomes an exercise of faith. In retreating we carry our problems to God, relax, and ask Him to give us wisdom and strength. Retreating allows God to minister to us. Also, when we retreat we wait on the Lord. This is what Isaiah had in mind. “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Is. 40:31) Who knows, maybe the turtle is teaching us another lesson. Maybe he retreats into his shell to pray!