The Remarkable Exploits of Flash the Snail (and how I need to have more patience)

We have  named our pet snail: “Flash.”

I know what you’re wondering.

You have a pet snail?

Yes, yes we do.   On our last trip to the pet store to pick out some more fish for our aquarium, we spotted snails.

“How cool is that?” I thought.  They keep your tank clean and their shells are pretty.

Nice.

So, my daughter picked out a yellow snail to add to our tank.   His original name was “Sunny,” aptly named by my eight-year-old.

But then I discovered that this little guy was actually a superhero in disguise.  Certainly, he is no ordinary snail.

Snails are, after all, slow.

Our snail, on the other hand, has near-teleportation ability.   I wake up in the morning, pad out to the fish tank with my eyes still full of sleep.  I flick on the tank light and do the same thing I do every morning:  I find the snail.

Then, having found him in the bottom  left corner of the tank hanging out on some pebbles, I slip into the kitchen and make my tea.

By the time I return to  the tank, our snail is gone.  I play Find-the-Snail again and discover he is now at the top right corner of the tank attached to the heater.

This. Is. Amazing.

That’s what I think as I stand there with my tea.  We have a super snail.  Definitely.

So, after about a week of discovering the extraordinary speed of our pet snail, I finally explain to  my daughter that “Sunny” is a cute name, but our snail is something super and that merits a superhero name.

Hence, Sunny the Snail became Flash the Snail that day.

Here’s the wondrous thing about our amazing snail:  We almost never see him move.

In fact, I’ve only caught him in motion once when I flicked on the tank light in the morning and he was zooming across the bottom of our tank.

But most of the time, his motion in our little fish tank is unseen.   He is here one second and somewhere else after you blink.

We don’t see the progress or the actual moving.  We don’t see him slip out of his shell and scoot around.

We see big change.  Big moves.  Big progress.  That’s what shows up on our radar.

That’s what most of us want, after all.

BIG change.  BIG moves.  BIG progress.  We want all that and we want it fast, right away,  now, now,  now.

God, though, doesn’t get caught up in our forever-rushing or in our frenetic pushing to arrive already and be done with the journey.

God does slow progress.

He does stillness.

He does quiet and rest and the kind of change that lasts because it’s so deep and that takes time.

He doesn’t want us to have the facade of goodness.  He wants us to have goodness within.

He doesn’t want us to appear productive.  He wants us to mature and bear abundant, fully-ripe fruit.

Lysa TerKeurst wrote:

“In all of this remember, bearing fruit takes time.  Fruit doesn’t just pop up overnight.  Fruit comes in seasons.  Just because we don’t see tangible fruit in an area of our lives right now doesn’t e mean that God isn’t working.  Our job is to abide.  Remain.  Let’s keep doing that and watch to see how God might work in our lives” (Finding I AM).

While I want to be Flash the Snail most of the time, what I’m forgetting is that he is only fast for a a snail.  He doesn’t actually  teleport across my tank and appear in random places.  He pushes and pulls and meanders his way along, exerting energy and persevering without quitting until he arrives at his chosen destination (usually my tank heater).

So, let’s keep going, too.

Let’s not give up too soon or throw it all in because we just want to see the fruit already!  No more waiting! No more slow baby steps forward and a few falls back!  No more feeling like others are passing us along the way!  No more frustration with the process of bearing fruit.

The Psalmist tells us:

but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

We yield our fruit in season when we worry less about the fruit itself and focus more on God  Himself, meditating on His word, delighting in His presence.

The fruit will  come, and it will be ripe, abundant, God-tended fruit if we let God work in our hearts over time instead of rushing impatiently to the harvest.

 

 

Weekend Walk: Baking Cookies/Reading the Bible

Bake cookies.

It was on the official to-do list.  Sometimes we pull down the flour and sugar canisters and pull out the measuring cups and spoons because of a sweet tooth or just the fun of baking together.

Today, though, it was a must instead of a can, a have to instead of a get to, a duty and not a pleasure.

Bake sales, after all, require baked goods and cookies were to be our offering.

So the mission began, emptying cabinets of cookie cutters and dragging out the flour and rolling pin.  Looking up from the recipe, though, I saw this cutie pie rolling herself out like a cookie and giggling hysterically.

Suddenly, there was joy just in being together, in the pure delight of presence.  We took turns rolling out the dough and cutting out cookie shapes of hearts and flowers, butterflies, pumpkins and fall leaves.

Time in the kitchen so easily becomes a chore, cooking for necessity and baking on a deadline.

But moments together need to be rescued from task lists and enjoyed: Giggling over ourselves covered in flour.  Teaching how to push the rolling pin across the dough.  Recalling shared stories.  Kissing tiny noses dotted in sugar.  Admiring our goodies fresh from the oven and then sampling them as they cool.

So, when I pull down my Bible from the shelf and open my study book onto my kitchen table (still dusted with flour), it’s tempting to read to get it done, to check it off for the day and set it aside again until tomorrow.

“Devotions” is on my to-do list also.

Time in God’s presence, though, should be our joy and delight and the very life-breath to our suffocating souls.  Never just a task on a to-do list waiting for the line crossing it out, time with our Lord should beckon us and fill us with longing for more.

Our verse for the week reminds us to delight in His Word and center our lives around this relationship with our God rather than relegating it to the outskirts of our time and hearts:

 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do (Psalm 1:2-3 NLT).

Take pleasure in His presence.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King