How many are your works, Lord!
   In wisdom you made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures. O Lord, how manifold (Psalm 104:24 NIV)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

I don’t usually insert such ugly, sad, and “unpleasant” photos into my blog posts. However, I hope you will not quickly reject this post but read it to the end.  I think turtles are fantastic creatures and tears filled my eyes when I saw this crushed and broken one–a lowly reptile but still beautiful in God’s eyes.

 Out of the corner of my eye I noticed it, on the opposite side of the road, as I walked along the highway. My immediate impulse was to avoid it. Up until that moment, I was inhaling the fresh air, watching the movement of white clouds moving across the blue sky, and admiring a tiny green fern growing in the hillside at the edge of the road.  

So I turned my head and bypassed the turtle on the other side of the road. Then, sensing a nudge from the Holy Spirit, I turned back. At first, I wished I’d kept on walking. The sight made me feel nauseated. Quickly, I realized there was a lesson in this for me. The turtle could not make it across the highway because it was too slow. Whoever hit it did not stop and notice the damage they’d caused.

At first the lesson God had for me came in questions. Who is “not making it” in the world where I live? Who is being ignored, dismissed, run over and crushed because in some way they are “slow”?

These are the people I quickly thought of: those whose skin color is not white; those, who in some way, are mentally or physically challenged; those who are defenseless—the unborn, the abused; those fleeing from persecution and —refugees, those who can’t afford health insurance or the cost of higher education; the elderly . . .

Which of these people are my neighbors? Do I see their pain and brokenness? Or am I so busy counting my blessings, or so absorbed in my own struggles, I don’t see these crushed and broken “turtles” around me? Either the crushed and broken reptile or the broken-hearted human whom God created and loves.

Regarding the crushed turtle—my dear husband removed it from the middle of the road and buried the remains. He is a gentle-hearted man, who notices and stops to care for all of God’s crushed and broken turtles.

I am asking God to open my eyes and my ears to see and hear the broken and crushed turtles (of every kind) in my neighborhood, and to open my heart and hands to love and protect him with the love and wisdom of Jesus.

This story has a happy ending. The next day my husband found another turtle in the middle of the road. He picked it up and carried it to the lake shore, where it crawled away in safety.

8 Responses

  1. I agree whole-heartedly with Donna. I remember a similar experience to yours where the poor turtle was still struggling. As such, your words call to mind the need to be present with those in such a state until their time is at hand. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and compassion.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Lisa. I’m encouraged by it. May God bless you with grace and comfort as you are present for the hurting souls God places before you.

  2. This is so beautiful Jane. I am glad you posted the picture, because it seems that only when pain is so visceral are we stricken in our conscience. The analogy is perfect. I am a turtle and I am aware of all the turtle watchers in my life.

    1. Judith, your observation is true. Sadly, the protective shell with which we insulate our hearts from the pain outside of us hardens our consciences. To God, and to me, you are a precious turtle.

  3. Good morning Jane! While not your prettiest picture, your devotional today reminds us of how easy it is to turn away in disgust from unpleasant things. Sometimes God wants to bring us right into the messy places to minister His love, just as He did. Keep moving those turtles along! ❤️

    1. Thanks for reading my devotional and commenting on it, Donna. I appreciate your example of loving and courageous servanthood. In unpleasant and messy situations, God’s love and wisdom pour out of you.

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