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How Do I Persevere Despite My Circumstances?

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I love to garden. Basically I love to see things grow, especially pretty plants. I’ve never really grown vegetables, but recently we discovered that we are expecting…wait for it…one tiny tomato! Now if we can keep the squirrels and birds away from it, we just might have one fresh tomato to enjoy this year. Ah, the simple pleasures. I began my love for gardening back in South Texas where many plants will live all year round. Through the years, I have experienced some interesting things in my world of gardening.

There is an old saying, “bloom where you are planted.” But have you ever heard the saying, “Grow, even when you are pulled up” or “Grow even if it hurts”? A few years back, Linda’s dad and mom helped us do some remodeling of a bathroom. Since we had to tap into the water line, we had to take out a flower bed that was filled with blooming Kalanchoes (I usually pronounce it “Kah-Lahn-chos”, but the real pronunciation is “Ka-lan-ko-es”. I know you are impressed!)  I planted the plants in a temporary spot just to keep them alive. To my surprise, the plants began to grow and bloom even better than before; so, naturally, I left them there.

Much later (like 2-3 months) I noticed that I had left one of the plants in a bucket in the garage. The plant was kind of dry (understatement), but it had actually sprouted a little green bud at the top.  This plant was growing in spite of a lack of water and dirt.  

Not long after that, I decided to cut back the cactus next to my kitchen window.  It is a very interesting cactus, and as you might expect, in South Texas it was becoming like a tree!  I had to keep pruning it back, so that it wouldn’t fall over in the wind.

I knew that, if I put the prickly little pieces in my compost pile, I would have a very interesting time spreading my compost…ouch!  It hurts just to think about it!  So I put my cuttings in a garbage can in the garage, thinking that when they dried up I would put them out with the trash.  After about six weeks, I went back to the trash can and looked inside.  And to my amazement each of the cuttings had sprouted and, yes, they were continuing to grow.  I knew cacti were resilient, but that is amazing.

Can you see a correlation here?  Now I don’t recommend that you try this, but I do believe that there is a lesson to be learned here.  When times get tough (and they will) if our roots are firmly planted in Jesus Christ, then we can survive and grow in Him.  As a matter of fact, many times our growth is more prolific when we have gone through trials, similar to the way the Kalanchoes thrived in their new location.

"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope." (Romans 5:1-4 CSB)

How encouraging is that!   Our trials produce endurance or perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. Hang in there!  Keep growing and you just might see some little sprouts of green in spite of your circumstances! 

"…so do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a little while,

'He who is coming will come and will not delay.
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him.'

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:35-39 NIV)

So when this world throws something at you that causes you to feel cut off and discouraged, don’t shrink back (or shrivel up); keep trusting in God.  You may even find that your greatest growth took place when you were feeling “thrown away.”

To God Be the Glory!

Doug Burton
Minister of Music and Senior Adults
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