If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why did the turtle cross the road?

It's just not a good way to go, getting hit, or squashed, by a car.  No matter what species the animal is I always mourn, to various degrees, when I see one lying on the side of the road.  Man builds roads and all kinds of vehicles to travel those roads, and some animal that doesn't even know what a road is comes to the end of its life just because of a drive or instinct to get to the other side for whatever reason. It's sad.  Everything from bugs to low flying birds, to frogs and turtles to cats, dogs, deer and the occasional larger animal. And it's not like people go around aiming their vehicle at the animal crossing the road.  It's just an accident and the animal gets the worst of it.

Growing up in the country in Yazoo County, we had a lot of dogs.  Never - NEVER - did one live out it's natural life as I was coming up.  The ones that didn't run off somewhere "got run over by an oil truck".  I don't recall ever witnessing it. That's just what we were told when we got home from school or looked up one day and noticed that the dog wasn't around any more. (hmmm . . .) I must admit that I don't remember being all that upset by it. It was just a part of life. But, the older I get the more such things bother me.

I have been known to stop and help turtles finish their journey across the road. Well, actually, I'm not known for it, no one has ever witnessed it. But, I do that kind of thing.  Being squashed is not a fitting end for any animal, particularly one that is just too slow to have much of a chance against a driver who is not paying attention.  So I'll stop, carry it on across to the other side, put it down facing away from the road and tell it to try to stick to crawling across dirt and grass in the future. (I don't know that talking to them does any good. I don't speak turtle and I doubt they understand English.)

So, anyway, just this past Tuesday night, I was driving home from the Mexican restaurant on Siwell Road in Byram.  Four of us had gone out to eat after MAN ALIVE!!! (I don't mourn for the meat I eat. I'm not that sensitive!) I'm driving along and, too late to do anything about it, my bumper or my tire hits a deer lying in the road.  The deer had already been hit, but, it was still alive.  I would almost swear it was looking me in the eye when I hit it.  "That deer is alive," I say to myself. Then I'm thinking, 'That deer is alive. Am I just going to leave it there in the middle of Siwell Road to get run over again?"  Then I'm thinking, "Well, what are you going to do? It's not like you can nurse it back to health or anything." Then I decide, "I don't care!  I'm not just going to leave it there. Besides, it is a hazard to other drivers."

I turn around, and spot it again. It is still moving, trying to get up. I pass it again, and failing to find a good turn around, I make an emergency U-turn.  (Hoping that "emergency" part makes it somewhat legal.)  By now, several vehicles had passed and I wonder how many more times that deer was hit.  Stopping in the same right lane that she is in, a deer in the headlights, but this one seeing nothing, I turn on my flashers and exit my truck.  I was thinking that I might have to call the sheriff's department to come finish what these vehicles had started. I had nothing to end her suffering with, and being where we were, I doubted the legality of such in any case.  My decision had been made for me by now, though.  I told her I was sorry that she didn't make it another 5 or 6 feet, and I dragged the now still body - call it a carcass, if you like - off the side of the road.

It struck me, looking down upon that deer, that God, who knows when a sparrow falls, knew that life had passed from this creature of His.  And I told Him I was sorry that He lost her in this way. (I think it was a "her", I really didn't look.)  I just thought in that moment that if God took note of this creature's passing, I should as well. And I'm not talking about turtle and deer funerals and such. I'm just talking about a proper respect for creation.

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket?   Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?  Job 38:39-41

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear?  Job 39:1-2

“Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes?  I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat.  It laughs at the commotion in the town; it does not hear a driver’s shout. It ranges the hills for its pasture and searches for any green thing.  Job39:5-8

“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork." Job 39:13

"Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?  Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?"  Job 39:19-20

Don't ever think that God is not aware of what is happening to His creation, or that He does not care or love all things great and small.

Above all, and this is the point of this whole thing, don't ever forget where you stand before God in creation.

 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."  Matthew 10:29-31

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?"  Matthew 6:25-26, 28-30

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands;  you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Psalm 8:3-8

And of course there is Genesis 1:28  "God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Nothing and no one is insignificant in the eye of God. God's compassion for you is so great, and His love for you and His desire to be with you are so strong that He sent His only Son to die in your place taking with Him everything that separated you from God and making the way for you and I to live forever in His presence.  Don't use anything of this world - people, places, or things - to gauge your significance.  Your Creator has made it clear how very significant you are.

Oh, yeah. So, why did the turtle cross the road?  Nobody knows. By the time he finally made it across, he had forgotten!  (I know it's corny. If I had told you that at the beginning you might not have read this far.) ((Maybe I should have asked one of those I helped across!))

Just one more thing: Of all that we are, we are nothing without Him. But you already knew that!