In the days of Caesar Augustus in the City of David, there lived a tortoise. Tortoise had heard of the birth of the King and greatly desired to behold His face. Tortoise’s friends laughed at him. How would he get there? It was miles away! He must be crazy. He was so small and so very slow!!!
Tortoise was not naïve to his limitations but how he longed to see the King! “Why can’t I?” he wondered to himself. “If one, then why not another? Surely the King would not deny me.”
Amongst laughter and jeer, Tortoise set out with his mind set on beholding the face of the King. His pace was steady but slow. As he traveled, he said hello to the ants in the anthills and awed over the fragrant, beautiful flowers. Tortoise also invited others to join him in his journey to see the King. He made every effort to lift and cheer others on his path. He realized if he was to truly please the King, he must help others along the journey as well. His journey wasn’t so much about speed (after all, he wasn’t racing others) but about his focus and his tender-footed attempt not to hurt anyone in the process.
Because Tortoise’s pace was very, very slow and his progress wasn’t apparent to some, others at times got impatient with him. “Why can’t you move faster, Tortoise?” “Just give up!” “You’re never going to get there at that pace!” Although the taunting of others hurt Tortoise, he could not deny his intense desire to see the King and of his belief that he truly could make it if only he remained true to the course.
In addition to Tortoise’s strength of focus, he also possessed another important asset: He had a hard shell. Because of the shelter he carried on his back, he was able to stay on the path during times of distress and stormy weather. His progress was hindered for awhile, but never lost. When the winds blew so hard that he couldn’t see the direction in which to move anymore, he had no other choice—if he was to remain on course to see the King—than to tuck his little body inside his shell until visibility could again be detected.
And so it was that Tortoise slowly but surely pressed forward until finally he completed his goal and rejoiced in the glorious and welcoming presence of the King.
Jeffrey R. Holland stated in the October 2006 Ensign that it’s not the time it takes us to overcome hardships or to master gospel principles. What matters is the direction we are going. May we remember that slow and steady win the race. We will meet our eternal goal as we persevere! May we have the courage to press forward and not become discouraged by the storms. It is my testimony that the Lord will not forsake us as we lean on Him and trust in His mighty power to save.