Most Saturday mornings find me looking out of my breakfast nook window, but this morning I found a pleasant surprise–an Eastern box turtle diligently crawling through our backyard toward our house. It wasn’t the first one I have seen in the neighborhood. I’ve seen some alive and unfortunately, a couple crushed in the street.
I took a few moments to watch where he was going and see what he would do. I got closer to him, tickling him with some weeds to watch him retract his head. After a long while, he protruded his head and restarted his journey. He reached the back of the house and stood frozen, looking at the huge brick wall that was before him. What would he do?
“I guess he lost his way,” I thought. There is a huge wooded area behind our yard, so I supposed that he came from there. All I could think of was him reaching the street and getting crushed like the others. I thought I would return him to the creek that I had heard was in the back of the woods. Observing the seemingly lost turtle, I thought about a parable I could tell my daughter about spiritual bumpers, which, according to my spiritual father, are those events that God puts in our lives to block us from going the wrong way and get us on the right path. It’s one of the many ways He speaks to us. While it would be ideal for us to have crystal clear hearing and be able to discern the perfect will of God at all times, it is just not so. I’ve learned that the Lord usually uses spiritual bumpers in situations where we are sincerely misguided or wrong about a direction we are going.
The first biblical example that comes to mind when I think of spiritual bumpers is that of Balaam and his donkey. God was not pleased with Balaam traveling with a messenger of a foreign king that meant to do harm to the people of Israel (although He previously gave him permission to do so) so he sent an angel to prevent the donkey from going further. Balaam grew frustrated with the donkey and beat him in order to get him to proceed. After three beatings, the donkey talked to Balaam, and an angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me” (Numbers 22:32). Here we see that God was trying to spare Balaam from going a way that was contrary to God’s perfect will.
I can recall a situation where God used a spiritual bumper to get my attention and direct me to the right path. I had joined a network marketing company and despite my best efforts, could not seem to attain the first level of leadership. It was extremely frustrating. While talking to a leader in the company, she told me of how another leader switched organizations so as to be situated where he could obtain optimal success. Having joined the company through a magazine ad, I had not personally met my sponsor, and thought that would be the best thing for me to do as well. I moved to her organization (she also attended my church) and reached the first level of leadership in three months! I believe that I just had to be in the right place in order to experience success. Whether God sent an angel to frustrate my efforts or not, it certainly was a “bumper” to get me in the right organization!
It was very interesting for me to “play God” with this turtle as I perceived that he was on the wrong path and that I needed to direct him back toward home. I was running late for a church picnic, so I decided to do it later ( if I could find him) and left him buried in some leaves. As I expected, I did not find him when I returned home, but I did later learn that turtles have an instinctive homing ability that directs them back home when lost. Unfortunately, it some times requires them to cross dangerous roads–not good (pethelpful.com)! I sincerely hope he made it home safely.
It’s been a while since I have written so I’m glad to be back. Thank you for reading.