Back country road. High heels. Painted nails. New summer dress. Freshly curled locks of hair. 99% humidity on a muggy Sunday morning.
She stops at the top of the hill and gets out of the car. Sweat already begins to form on her forehead as she rushes to the front of the car to retrieve him. She picks him up and gently places him in the tall weeds next to the ditch.
After the deed is done, she gets back in the car and continues down the other side of the skinny hill on the back country road. Hair now frizzy, high heels muddy, painted nails smudged. Summer dress sweaty…. and probably a tick somewhere.
But it was worth it.
I will admit, the subject in this story was me several years ago one Sunday morning before church. I will admit that the subject continues to be me, my husband, and my daughter on many occasions. When a rescue is necessary, the Mayfields are there. The words “pull over” are frequently used words in our vehicle.
Turtles. We rescue turtles. No, not an actual “rescue” involving a turtle farm…although, that sounds like a suitable new adventure. We rescue turtles from the brink of disaster. We ensure that our hard shell friends arrive safely to their destinations.
When you drive along and come across that turtle in the middle of the road what do you do? Most people avoid it and drive on. Some people, yes, I will call them evil, will do what they can to NOT avoid hitting the turtle. If this is you then I hope extreme guilt and remorse is forming in you this very instant.
But there are a select few that will do what they can to save the turtle. I proudly admit that we fall into that category. Whether it be located smack in the middle of the road, or on the threshold of safety, we will pull over and help the little guy make his journey a bit faster and safer. The deed becomes more tricky when it involves a snapper, but when a hero is needed, a hero we will become.
There is just something about a turtle that has always intrigued me. They seem to be the most humble of creatures. They take their time with everything they do. (Guess that comes with being a turtle). Want to live a simple life? Try being a turtle. No hurries. No scurries. And with a hard armor protecting you like that…no worries. Unless, of course, you find yourself in the middle of traffic. Like a game of slow motion Frogger, turtles seem to find themselves in these predicaments too often.
That’s where we come in. Although, Reece informed us that we must always place the turtle on the side of the road to which it is headed. Seems logical doesn’t it. Why thwart his plan? But the real reason is because turtles do not backtrack. Once they take a particular path, they will apparently not go back the same way. And when a turtle is crossing the road it is not to just get to the other side. He is on a journey to water, even if he cannot see it.
Well, those latter facts would make great material for another spiritual parallel. But I will save that for a future post. I have something else in mind for this one.
In the book of Romans, among other places, Paul relays his thoughts about difficult seasons in life. Who better to give us an exclusive on trials than this guy? From shipwrecks to hunger…from prison bars to tortures…Paul knows what it is like to have life come down hard. Yet, in the midst of it all, he is able to keep perspective and to remain faithful to his calling.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5.
Had Paul’s life been smooth sailing, his ministry would not have been the same. Had every one of his problems been immediately taken away, we would be reading his accounts with a different perspective. But because of his endurance, his faithfulness, and his pursuit of fulfilling his calling, we gain hope. I am sure that many souls have entered the kingdom because of this man’s influence.
We learn much about ourselves and our Lord in the valleys that we cannot learn on the mountains. We learn to endure only through challenge. And only when the artillery is aimed at us head on, can we learn to move forward as a soldier in battle.
The road of the most resistance is usually the road of the most fruitfulness. To come out the other side of our problems is to be made stronger. To quote spiderman’s uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility.” In the same way, with great trials comes great results. This is when we can breathe in that sweet relief that becomes heavenly air because we know that we fought the good fight.
There is purpose for us. There is purpose in our trials. We must keep moving forward in our pursuit.
Like the turtle, stay humble, keep your armor on, and be willing to be helped along in your journey when needed. You will eventually find your water.