Shelter & Refuge
"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV)
These are Florida Fighting Conchs, a smaller cousin of the more well-known Queen Conch. Their maximum size is a mere 5 inches, about half the length of the Queen Conch. When alive, these snails have shells that are camouflaged with algae. This fact along with their tendency to burrow into the sandy seafloor can make them hard to spot. Although they can be difficult to see, they are actually quite common in South Florida. Florida Fighting Conch shells display a range of patterns and color, frequently being decorated with elaborate zigzag patterns in brown to maroon tones. Of course, their shells offer them protection against predators as well. The strength of conch shells actually stands above many other mollusks, a fact that has led to scientific curiosity as to why. Recently, has been discovered that a unique three-tiered structure within the conch shell's material makes it about 10 times stronger than mother of pearl. Researchers at MIT have developed a way to replicate the conch shell's internal structure via 3D printing. The goal is to use this new technology to create a new level of strength and toughness in protective headgear and body armor. One cannot observe the protective strength of the Florida Fighting Conch's shell without thinking of the spiritual implications as well. The Bible is replete with verses comparing God's protection of His people in times of trouble with a strong tower, shelter or mighty fortress. Perhaps this is because when we are under assault from the Enemy or our flesh it is easy to doubt the strength or conviction behind our God's protection. In these times we must choose to believe in God's greatness and His faithfulness, not our feelings. At these moments may we all cry out to Him: God lead me to the Rock that is higher (greater) than I.