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Crawl if you have to

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. (Charles Spurgeon)

Stop for just a moment to consider how much effort it must have taken for snails of all sorts to finally reach the door of the ark and you might find yourself taking hope that you will also one day reach that destination you so desire! Never give up - never given in. To give up means we just quit. To give in means we take an easier road. Neither will meet our need. Both will leave us with feelings of regret or guilt. Things will get in our way - that is a given. Others will have opinions that mess with our minds and challenge us to reconsider our determination. Stop short and you will always miss the boat!

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5)

We don't just wake up one day with a fully loaded arsenal of patience. Contrary to popular opinion, it is learned, not just acquired. There is no pill for patience. Maybe there are pills that lower our threshold of some emotional response to what we are going through, but those aren't really 'infusions of patience'. They merely help us deal with life. The snail's pace continues! Strength of character comes as we begin to use the treasure of God's presence and strength over and over again. Eventually it becomes something quite solid within us - something we can count on when the pressures build.

We might not like that we are crawling at a snail's pace toward a huge goal. We may want to complain about every obstacle that looms before us on the way to that goal. We could even desire to ride on someone's back, utilizing their energies to get us to that goal. None of these will ever allow the strength of God to develop within us in quite the same way as he intends for it to grow. Yes, we occasionally need the efforts of another to help us take the next step - there is no harm in that unless it means we never take another step on our own. When we find ourselves 'riding' we realize we aren't developing the same strength as we would if we were walking ourselves. Sometimes we just need to keep crawling. Just sayin!

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