"By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
~ Charles Spurgeon ~
We had an object lesson in on our doorstep last Thursday evening. A snail was steadfastly making its way from our flower bed to our front door as German arrived home from work. He called the girls out to see it. They marveled at how it propelled its body and its shell. They worried that it was going to fall into the 1/2 inch "abyss" created by the space between paving stones--and were delighted to watch it stretch its body out of the shell enough to reach the other side then pull the rest behind. And then Flower got worried that it was going to get into the house and started to make a scene. German assured her that even if it made it to the door, it was slow enough that we could close the door before it entered. She was reassured and happily went back to watching it leave a trail on my front porch. Little did I know that the next day Iris would choose a quote about the snail, and send my mind back to that moment.
It was the steadfastness and perseverence that propelled the snail toward its goal. It has made its home around the corner on the side of the house--why I don't know--but the girls don't want me to remove it. It may have been slow, but it continued to move forward. To make a rather irreverent jump, its journey somewhat illustrates the act of friendship evangelism. We have friends who God has clearly laid on our hearts as people He desires to know Him. And they have no interest whatsoever. It feels like it is slow-going. Somedays, it feels like we are stretching our necks out--vulnerable--as we seek to be an example in their life. Other days I am sure we will fall into the abyss of their lifestyle if we are not totally vigilant. But this is where God calls us to be, and we must persevere. God does not call us to be responsible for the result. He calls us to represent Him to them. There are days I am frustrated because it would be so much easier to just present a 4-step Gospel message and be on my way. But they aren't ready for that. God says walk this slow path of just being their friend, living your faith, and giving God credit for what happens in our lives. He says "let them see Me and how I keep you from the abyss." He says, "Persevere in love, I'll do the rest."
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:6-8
Spurgeons's snail may have been slow, but its journey led to the ark. My snail may have been slow, but its journey led to a perch on the house. Slow as my journey may seem, I believe that the journey leads my friends to the cross. And so I do persevere.
When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138: 3, 8
Lord, give me the patience to persevere with my friends. May the life I live in front of them reflect you. May the words I say glorify you. And may this journey end at the foot of the cross for them. Amen.
Iris is our hostess for In Other Words this week. Please join us here with your reflection or to read others' reflections.
photo credit: ariadna at www.morguefile.com