Actual slug I photographed
I saw a slug on the sidewalk. He had slowly, ever so slowly, started his trek across the concrete divide between green grass and green grass. Why did the slug cross the sidewalk? Okay, I digress; I’ll file that question away under “C” for chicken and the question as to why it crossed the road.
This slug decided, for whatever reason, midway across the sidewalk, to go back from whence he came. I pulled out my smart phone, got down on my knees and elbows on the sidewalk and took a picture of the slug making his U-turn.
If anybody had been walking by they’d wonder about an old guy on his knees and elbows taking a picture of a slug. But I had my reason. The slug’s body language certainly communicated he was making a U-turn, his slimy body being pretty much in the shape of the letter U. Of course his turning around was slow like everything else a slug does, and that is what got me to thinking. It got me to thinking that the slug is not the only one who’s slow at making U-turns!
U-turns are part of any authentic spiritual journey. Following God often involves a turning from the direction we are going or want to go and yielding to God’s different direction for us. The word the Bible uses for such a personal U-turn is the word repent. Jesus is recorded in the Gospel of Luke of having spoken of repentance a dozen times, so it’s not a concept we should take lightly.
The word “repent” strikes most of us as a negative word, but it’s not; it’s really a very positive concept! I recall discovering on a trip that I was going the wrong way on the interstate. Yes, I was frustrated. However, I knew the only proper recourse was to get off at the next exit and turn around. It took some time to get to that next exit and make the U-turn, but I had to do it and I did. The frustration of going the wrong way finally dissipated as I continued putting on miles in the right direction. Making a U-turn when we’re going the wrong way and repenting when we’re headed the wrong direction: both eventually lead us to a better place.
Changing direction from what we want and moving in the direction of what God wants is rarely instantaneous. Bad habits don’t often break quickly or easily, nor do addictions usually give up their hold without a fight. We’ll need to constantly count on God’s help, be open to the help of others, and determine to keep turning. I’m glad I came upon the slug on the sidewalk making his slow U-turn, because he got me to thinking about this.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19