Keep Calm and Be a Mollusk
When I was little, I spent hours combing the sand to pick out the tiniest seashells I could find. My collection grew, and I've since used them in Pinterest-inspired crafts or decorative vases.
They're pretty, sure, but I don't often think that an empty, open clam or mussel shell (one that looks like a butterfly) was once the outer, protective layer of a tiny, otherwise helpless animal. By the time a seashell gets into our hands, it has already served the great purpose of protecting a clam for its lifetime.
FAITH LIKE A SHELL
Tiny mollusks are born with shells, and they try to make the shell bigger as it digests nutrients it grabs from the rough waters and bits of food that float by on the current. Just as the ocean provides a mollusk with the ability to grow its shell, so does the Lord give us opportunities to grow our faith through trials.
Like a shell, our faith grows daily as we grow with the Lord. Our shells of faith protect us against waves, predator animals, and damage from being tossed about. Our shells of protection help us traverse the obstacles we face daily.
ALL CLAMMED UP
Have you ever found a shell with a mollusk inside and tried to open it? If you haven't, I'll tell you what happens. The animal closes the shell completely shut and the shell becomes almost impermeable. You can throw the shell far out into the ocean, and the mollusk inside will still be napping.
In truth, seashells are 95 percent chalk, the same stuff that crumbles on sidewalks and chalkboards. But underneath the chalk is an inner layer called the "mother of pearl," or nacre, which is extremely difficult to pierce. John Godfrey Saxe exclaims in the last line of his sonnet to a clam, "Thy case is shockingly hard!" Short of extreme blunt trauma, a seashell does not crack.
We are flesh and bone and fragile, but the Holy Ghost that God places within us is strong enough to withstand any obstacle that tries to break our soul.
FACE THE WAVES
Without our seashells, we are subject to life's many barrages, the pounding waters of turmoil, rolling tides of confusion, pecking seagull beaks of hurt, and rough grains of sand and rock that distract us every second of the day. But we know "the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea" (Psalms 93:4) and our "strength in time of trouble" (Psalm 37:39).
HAPPY AS A CLAM
Finally, this silly phrase makes sense! Clams aren't complex creatures. I never understood the reference to their emotional state. But a clam has some of the strongest protection on earth! If I use my faith and allow God's power to be a protective shell for my life, I too can find joy. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1)
Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.