One of my earliest childhood memories was watching snails in our backyard flower garden. I was fascinated by this little creature with a shell, a slimy little tummy, and tiny eyes that turned like periscopes. But what really seemed unusual was how slowly a snail travels.

How slow does a snail go? One study clocked a snail at 0.00758 miles per hour—or 40 feet in one hour. No wonder we use the phrase moving at a snail’s pace to mean “slow.”

Although a snail does move at a “sluggish” pace, one virtue it does possess is perseverance. The great 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon wryly observed, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

According to the apostle Paul, perseverance is a key component in character development. He explained that “tribulation produces perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). And upon that building block go character and hope (v.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 painful trials.

Have setbacks slowed you down to a snail’s pace? Be encouraged. God doesn’t ask for a fast finish. He expects persevering progress.