The Life and Times of… A Snail.
Why a snail? One might wonder.
This is my progressive journal, from an older site, http://twiyesudowo.tumblr.com/archive
A Snail is a snail for many reasons, and it is my deepest hope for you, dear reader, as it is for myself, that every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of these precious truths, the reason for this journal, and my hope for what this journal shall be.
1. To move at a Slower Pace, in order that we may not miss on the Beautiful things God has given
As a young girl, I used to love looking out for snails on a rainy day. It always seemed that they were perpetually invisible, and so often, so often, I had accidentally (for I do think that to purposefully do so is absolutely murderous) killed a snail, crushing it under my elephant feet. Alas. Such is the sadness, how we seem to crush out the littlest, possibly the most beautiful things in life, having overlooked them, or just missing time to just pause, to tread carefully. Indeed many times too in my own dear life, I had in clumsy eagerness, scrambled ahead of God. Now, the snail is my favourite animal. It is my hope then, that as I grow up in Him, I would no longer be the anxious hare, but the careful Snail. For slow and steady, wins the race. The race for which Christ has already won for me at the Cross.
The Beauty of its shell. Look at the snail, take a good long second glance at it. Did you know? The shell of the snail is one which follows the Fibonacci Sequence, along with Sunflowers (ah, lovely flowers!) and hurricanes. The spiral in a snail’s shell is mathematically similar to the spiral in the Milky Way galaxy, and too, so it is the same as the twisty spirals in our DNA. (P.S. Used to love Twisties when I was much younger…… ) I do appreciate it for its intricate beauty as such, the wonder of Creation, the work of our Heavenly Father’s hands. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. And so this journal shall contain a plethora of things and photographs, of little things or indeed huge things (as expansive skies we might fail to notice if we never tilt our heads upwards), that we might have missed before, and now, would never will, because we are travelling consciously at a Snail’s pace.
The Snail is thus an antidote to the fast-paced society in which I have been brought up in, that is dear Singapore. It would represent the slow movement of time across people’s lives within society, which was and still is today in constant rapid acceleration. I am now consciously aware, as I believe you too are, that the hustle and bustle of Singaporean society has shuffled me out of a state of chewy ponderance. Yet it is my firm, indignant belief that the pace of life should move at a much, much slower pace. Why so? In order that we might pause, stop, just to take in, observe and dwell at length, before carefully moving on. We must chew, savour, taste and see that the LORD is Good! We must take time, to be still before the Lord. Only then and only then, shall we note beautiful things, such as the shell of a snail. Only then, shall we be able to see how God has been guiding us through the littlest things, gently, in His Loving patience.
2. A Reminder and Record, of Perseverance in the Faith
“By perseverance, the Snail reached the Ark.” – Charles Spurgeon.
Ah! Spurgeon! To have sat in the pews of the Metropolitan Tabernacle earlier in the New Year down in London where this great man has preached, I remember clearly the verse being clearly expounded, the excitement and wonder of just being in the place itself. But here I detract. I do remain superbly excited. Hehe.
With the account of the Noah and the Ark that God had asked Noah to build, most surely, the snail would have had to climb upon the Ark as well. As Spurgeon notes, The snail, full aware that it does not move quickly, (in the Sovereignty of God!) did not necessarily focus on getting to the Ark quickly (and hence cleverly did away with the panicking, “kia-su”-ness, anxiety, of course, with God’s Sovereignty in mind), focused on the reality and work at getting there over time, by consistent movement.
In many ways, such is thus a reminder, to persevere in the Christian faith. Whilst the snail does move at a “sluggish” pace as oft thought, one great virtue it does possess is great perseverance. According to the apostle Paul, perseverance is a key component in character development. He explained that “tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3), and upon that building block comes character and good hope (verse 4). The original Greek word translated “perseverance” means “steadfastness, constancy, and endurance.” It was used of believers who endured in their walk of faith despite many trying trials. I believe God does not ask of us a fast finish; He expects persevering progress, one with good Hope before us – the eternal hope of salvation we have in Christ.
When trials intrude to slow down your life,
It would be easy for you to give in;
But by perseverance you’ll overcome strife,
So just keep on plodding—with Christ you can win.
So, this journal shall be one of perseverance. As I had dwelt on before, here in dear Durham, I look forward expectantly to how He shall continue to mould me in this final year overseas. Though trials and challenges must come, I know, His promise holds Good and True, that though my faith shall be tested, yet it shall be refined through fire, refined as gold, ever pure gold. It is a promise He has for all His children, trusting in the finished work of Christ, as we come to know Him more, and as we await the Glorious Day of His coming. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” So the devil shall dangle in front of me the spectre of tomorrow’s troubles, but I must glance up at the Almighty God and laugh at the devil’s folly. “In the fear of the LORD, one has strong confidence and His children will have a refuge” (Proverbs 14: 26). Trusting in God, there is none and nothing I fear, when my Hope is in Him. There is nothing to be anxious about for tomorrow, for God is already in the tomorrow, and He is also here in the present. The Snail, is a reminder, to do what God has appointed me to do, and trust Him in everything to show mercy and grace.
Perseverance. With perseverance, we shall win the race for which Christ has won for us at the Cross.
3. Drinking deep from the Fountain of Eternal Life
In this picture too, the Snail’s feelers are delicately poised above the water from which it appears to be drinking deep from. Or so, that is my chosen interpretation. It could well be blowing bubbles under the water. Reminds me of my childhood days, used to love blowing bubbles in the pool – water chundling out of your mouth is super enjoyable. Whichever that is the case, its top head is submerged in water, that is for certain.
Drinking deep. John 7: 37-39 goes,
“If anyone thirsts”, says Jesus, “Let him come to Me & drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow Rivers of Living Water.'”
The snail here is in a state of dwelling, chewing, bathing calmly soaked in moisture, in the goodness of God’s Love, a state in which one can fully, and clearly, think. How a snail’s food mechanism works? It sticks its head out of its protective shell, source for nutrients, and then hides back in its shell to get the nutrition into its system, and let it internalize. Time, silence and intimacy in every sense is needed. So I believe, this same mechanism should be put forth when encountering a) the Word of God, being read or preached, and b) related matters. We must drink deep, we must constantly drink deep from the fountain of eternal life we have received through faith in Christ Jesus. Only then, shall our hearts flow rivers of Living water, an overflow of the love God has poured into our hearts, from the everlasting Source Himself.
And so, with a good slow pace, in perseverance, in drinking deep, so is the Snail a great metaphor for how I would like my Christian life to be led.
The purpose of this journal, is a good way to write and dwell of my time here in Durham, and in Singapore. In many senses, this is a journal of new beginnings, of stable arrival. I have had two public journals before this (I do say “public”, for we must all keep a private one!) – one, in my teenage youth, and another, twiyesudowo.tumblr.com/archive, as I learnt through the past three years, of what it means to be a woman in Him. In a sermon given back in the summer in Singapore, the verse 1 Peter 2: 3 came to mind – “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Good is the LORD indeed, and so we must continue to persevere in the faith, to, in the words of Isobel Kuhn, go on Searching. There is lots to discover about God, no matter where one is in the Faith. There is much to discover, much to behold.
God gives His children so many good gifts, works so intimately in His children’s lives, that often, we are left overwhelmed. Thus, to not do this in remembrance of His goodness, would not be gracious of me to share of His Great Love. What God gives, is never for ourselves alone, but is given to be shared. Freely and graciously as we have received, so freely and graciously we may give. Here, I share of His Love for me and how He works in my life, one that has touched me greatly, and I do hope, that you too will be reminded that He is the Same God working in our lives, and be encouraged to walk closely with Him, together. Together here we savour each moment God gives, each little pull, each new day, brings it closer to the climb, as we await the Day of Glory.
Having thus clarified the purpose of this journal, a snail mail of sorts (hehe, no pun intended), as a transportation of thoughts between Theo and God (I adjure you to refrain from any confusion of identities here),
I invite you to embark on this journey with me, as we stay close to the heart of God, wait for Him, and Hope in Him. The benefits of abiding in the Shadow of the Almighty is one too glorious, too glorious to forsake.
May this journal be used for God’s Glory, and God’s Glory alone.