by Calven Celliers
After the lovely rains last week, I noticed something in my garden that I hadn’t seen all winter – snail trails! Snails apparently hibernate during the dry autumn and winter months on the highveld, seeking shelter by creating viscous “slime tombs”, which harden and protect the snail until the Spring rains come and dissolve their temporary cocoon. The snail, having likely not eaten for some time, then ventures out to find food.
Now normally, around my house, snails are only seen as enemies which must be destroyed lest they destroy my garden, but this week I found myself choosing a more benevolent stance as I considered the life lesson this slimy little creature has to offer.
Snails remind me of where I often find myself on my faith journey. There are of course events in life that propel us forward very quickly, and when these things occur, we are forced to jump ahead. We rapidly come to new understandings about God and His plan for our lives through these experiences that cause our faith to grow in leaps and bounds.
But, a lot of the time, I feel more like a snail, inching my way along, trading leaps and bounds for slow and steady. Between the peaks and valleys of life there are often plateaus – those times when I’m not necessarily experiencing extreme highs or lows, instead I’m just dealing with the day in and day out stuff of life. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t movement, though. Just like a snail, I creep along towards my destination… to be more like Christ! It may seem at times like I’m moving ever so slowly and yet in hindsight I can see just how far I’ve come in my walk with Jesus.
I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the Church at Philippi, where he said,
“12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippi 3: 12 – 14NIV)
Charles Spurgeon wisely stated, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
We can all learn a lesson from snails. By your persistence you’ll reach the destination to which God has called you. Keep on keeping on! Some days it feels like we’re progressing at a snail’s pace, pressing on through the plateaus of daily life inch by inch. Strain on my friend; press on toward the goal. On those days when it feels like you’re getting nowhere fast, fix your eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of your faith, and little by little grow in holiness, sanctification, and maturity in Christ.