We didn’t have much time to spare. We had barely set out on our trip to Passover services last year, when suddenly the car ahead of us stopped at a point where it was tricky to pass.
The driver jumped out. “What on earth?” I thought. “We might be late for setup at this rate.” Then we saw him crouch down and pick up a box turtle from the road. He then set it down on the grass bank, and went on his way again.
Most likely, the creature would have been killed by one of the next cars coming by, had this driver not intervened. As we continued on our way that evening, so many analogies and lessons flooded my mind.
God’s compassion for us
First, I was reminded that the Father reached down to deliver us from imminent danger of eternal death from sin (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×). Unlike Jesus, the turtle’s rescuer didn’t deliberately put his life on the line, but he could have been hit by a speeding car.
For him, it was an act of compassion, and he saw that the turtle mattered. Do we matter? Even though we are mere specks on the scale of a vast universe, and insignificant without God, He saw potential in us, and Jesus was willing to die for each of us (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×).
We can’t help ourselves
The turtle couldn’t help itself out of danger. In fact, it didn’t even realize it was in peril. We were the same way when God reached out to us. The natural human way seems right, but those paths lead to death (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×). Just as Jesus realized as a human that His success depended on being close to His Father, we come to see that nothing we do is of any worth without God’s intervention and help (John 5:19 John 5:19Then answered Jesus and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise.
American King James Version×, 30). We can’t give ourselves the credit for any lasting good that we accomplish, for it is actually Jesus accomplishing it through us (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×).
God doesn’t grudge us His time
Had we been in the place of the driver ahead of us, would we have sped along, unaware of the turtle’s plight until it was too late? Do we overlook opportunities to help a person in need because we are always in a hurry? Jesus taught people and healed them even when He was physically exhausted and emotionally drained (Matthew 14:12-14 Matthew 14:12-14  And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
 When Jesus heard of it, he departed there by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
American King James Version×). We have physical limitations but perhaps there are occasions when we can take the extra time needed to reach out to someone. Maybe a neighbor can’t start her car in the morning when we are about to leave for work; perhaps a co-worker needs to ride to work with us while his car is in the shop.
Little things are important to God, too
Was the turtle too small to bother about? The Father cares about all of the creatures He has made (Matthew 10:29 Matthew 10:29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
American King James Version×). And Jesus cared deeply about little people: like the children whose parents wanted Him to bless them (Matthew 19:13-15 Matthew 19:13-15  Then were there brought to him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come to me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And he laid his hands on them, and departed there.
American King James Version×). He was greatly displeased with His disciples for sending these little ones away! He even went on to say that little children can teach adults some important spiritual lessons about our relationship with God.
God to the rescue!
Like the turtle, we all require course correction. In order to survive, the little shelled creature needed to be picked up and relocated. Before we were even aware of the spiritual danger we were headed toward, the Father and Jesus reached down and rescued us, and set us on a completely different path—the road to eternal life! And even after conversion, we still need smaller course corrections along the way.
I don’t think I will ever approach Passover again without thinking of these lessons from the simple rescue of a turtle. How grateful I am for God’s compassion for us, and His willingness to help us when we can’t help ourselves. How thankful I am for His taking the time to help potential members of His Family, and for considering the “little things” to be important in His eternal perspective!