How Can We Ever Be a Conch Shell to God’s Glory?

Yippee! We’re going to the ocean! I don’t know how often we traveled there, but I do remember my excitement. My big brother took our inner tubes to the gas station to pump air into them, and I tagged along.

I don’t remember everything about it as I probably was younger than 5 since we moved from California to Iowa when I was 6. But I do remember the emotions I felt. I do remember making a sand castle when a wave came in and washed over me. It didn’t even scare me.

Even though I didn’t really know God then, there was something about the ocean that filled my heart with peace and awe. The memories of the sights and sounds still draw my soul.

I love all shells, but conch shells especially remind me of the ocean. Have you ever held one to your ear?

According to scientists, what we hear is just an amplification of the noises surrounding us. Air bounces around inside the shell and produces sound, the pitch depending on how big the conch shell is.

It will always have a deeper, spiritual meaning to me. A few years ago, as I cradled one to my ear, I closed my eyes and listened. Sweet melodies of God’s grace sang peace as they conveyed God’s power to create and preserve. The waves roared as they came in and slapped the shore, then sang a lullaby as they lapped the sand, leaving ripples of God’s voice.

“Are you listening, My child?” God asked.

“OK, Lord, I hear You, but I’m afraid of what You will ask me to do…” was my timid reply.

“You are a conch shell to My glory,” He gently reminded me. “Listen to My voice, follow Me, and make a sound for Me.”

Conch shells were among the first musical instruments and were often used to communicate in ancient cultures. They are still used today.

It is called the Pū in Hawaii and is used to say “goodbye” and “thanks” at sunset. When someone asked Rev. Alalani how she always blows the conch shell right and pure, she answered:

“Because I let God blow through me. I blow for the cause and to open the Heavens to come and Bless. I give thanks. I do not blow the Pū alone.”

Often I feel I can only produce off-tune static that doesn’t honor God. I am afraid, even when I write here, that I toot my own horn more than His. Or that His love for me isn’t pouring out to others. But I know Satan loves to bring all my shame and insecurities to the forefront and dissuade me from writing anything at all.

It is hard sometimes to tune in to God’s voice alone, isn’t it? And when we do, it’s sometimes easy to wonder if it’s actually filtering out of our own wants or if it’s really His voice. But at the name of Jesus, those negative, self-critical voices must stop. He has the power to calm every storm.

“You are from God, little children,
and you have conquered them,
because the One who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 HCSB

Do you feel full of doubt, shame, and insecurities? You are not alone. Jesus knows and cares about our struggles, and He is available around the clock to give us what we need. Funneled through His cleansing blood, our faltering voices can and will produce wholesome heart melodies to His glory.

May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 NLT

Greater
by MercyMe

“Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name

You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world…”

The Good Shepherd Cares About His Sheep

“The Lord Is My Good Shepherd”
Bernhard Plockhorst – 1825 -1907 (Public Domain)

Darkness crept in like a thief. Too late. Now they didn’t know how to get home. A staccato of fear pounded in their hearts as they huddled together. Exposed. To whatever and whoever may want to harm them.

Many years ago when we still had children at home, we raised sheep, and one night they didn’t return to our lighted yard before darkness fell. They never stayed out in the darkness, so I walked out to the front fence line of our pasture. There they were huddled together like one dark blot about halfway back in the pasture, desperately bleating, “Baaaaahhhh!”

“Here sheep! Here sheep! Here sheep!” I called. They calmed down and began to move in my direction. When I stopped calling, they stopped, so I kept calling until they found the lighted pathway back to home.

Isn’t that how life can go sometimes? We can be contentedly munching on the blessings. We don’t see the lengthening shadows of what lies ahead. And unexpectedly, losses of one kind or another blindside us and plunge us into darkness. We panic and flail because we can’t seem to find our way to the light. Fear abounds and we don’t feel safe anymore. We try to pull up the storehouse of God’s Promises we hold in our hearts, but we can’t focus. The darkness deprives us of discernment, despondency deadens us, and dread debilitates us. Which way is home?

The sheep cried, and we, too, can cry. Their protector heard them, and our Protector will always hear us. He hears the weakest cry and can see through the thickest darkness.

When the sheep heard my voice, they recognized me as one who cared. They couldn’t see me, but they trusted I would lead them to safety. Do we know Jesus’ voice? Do we realize how much He cares? So much that He even gave up His life for us? Do we trust Him to guide us home?

“My sheep listen to My voice;
I know them,
and they follow Me.”

John 10:27
“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt
those who are] My own and My own know Me
[and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]—”
John 10:14 AMP

The sheep got confused when they couldn’t hear my voice above their noise, so they sometimes had to be quiet. Likewise, when we’re crying out of the pain of darkness, we may sometimes have to be still and listen, to tune in our ears to our Master’s voice. Do you hear it now? Jesus stretches forth His scarred hands and pleads, “Come, come, come… Come, My sheep. Come unto Me, all you who are weary. I will give you rest. Come to Me, you who are in darkness. I will give you light. In Me is safety. I am your HOME.”

“Come to Me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,
“I am the light of the world. If you follow Me,
you won’t have to walk in darkness,
because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 8:12

Do you feel the most at home at Jesus’ feet? When darkness overtakes you, do you cry out? The Good Shepherd hears your every bleat of pain. Can you hear Him calling you? Do you hear the love and longing in His voice? Follow His voice. He can lead you back to the light. He can lead you back home.

I kept asking God what I should write for this week’s post, and I kept feeling the nudge to repost this post from three years ago. I don’t know why, but I’ll leave that to Him. I pray He will wrap you in His Shepherd’s arms of love and tender care!

Thank You, Good Shepherd,
for Your tender love and care!
Please help us to hear Your voice
and lead us to Your light!

“Shepherd of My Soul”