“Do you like it here?” I asked my 17-year-old daughter. We were in New Orleans for a few days on a college tour.
“Yes,” she said. “I do.”
“I couldn’t do it,” I said. “I couldn’t live in the city all of the time.”
Memories of the mentally ill man, clothed in rags who was eating potato chips off the sidewalk, and the desperately neglected boxer puppy we had seen that morning were still haunting me.
My daughter sighed.
“If it were up to you,” she said softly, “you would give all of our money to the homeless and bring home every stray puppy.”
I am a sucker for the downtrodden, the weak and the vulnerable, I suppose. Just this morning, I spotted a turtle in the road and my first impulse, as usual, was to stop to pick it up and move it safely to the grass on the other side.
But not this turtle. You see, this country girl hardly even needed to slow down to see this was a snapping turtle.
I will stop for a box turtle just about every time but a snapping turtle? No thanks, the cost of that act of compassion would be a little too high for me.
Then, the little voice in my heart whispered-
God would have stopped for the snapping turtle.
And I was reminded for, I don’t know, the thousandth time, just how wide the gulf is between God’s character and mine.
Even in my most tender moments, I measure worthiness.
“Are you good enough…safe enough, for me to risk getting hurt to offer you mercy?”
Without even considering the justice or righteousness of my evaluation, these are the decisions I make.
Not God. He formed the snapping turtle with the same tender intentionality as He did the box turtle. He reveled in the bite of the first with the same delight as He did the timidity of the latter.
And to all creatures- the lions and lambs, the sharks and the dolphins,
the pit bulls and Matipoos, He shows the same loving, watchful care.
His compassion, generosity, and lavish love extend equally to serial killers and nuns…
To the sweet little older lady from the gym who calls me, “honey” and to the hateful woman who cut me off in traffic yesterday.
He is not at all like me. Not at all.
And in this truth…I have hope.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people…” Titus 2:11 (ESV)