Growth in the Midst of Struggle

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This picture demonstrates survival, rather than ease. This isn’t the cutesy cliché of “bloom where you’re planted.” Nor is it an empowering, “On this rock you will build…”

This imagines a battle.

Circumstance, providence, fate, the wind, Fortuna’s wheel…whatever one might call it, has shown its ugly side. A seed blown into a dark, lifeless place. Can you relate? I can. Others around us are seemingly untouched by bad luck, or let’s be honest, worse than that– they appear so BLESSED. Wouldn’t it be easier to stay in the dark and feel very sorry for ourselves? Pull the covers over our head and go back to sleep.

Hard times and stress can slow down our spiritual growth. And unfortunately speed up the grey hair and wrinkles. Again and again, I shake off the same discouraging words from others and myself: “you need to…pray harder, trust God more, have more faith, just pull it together, depression, anxiety and worry are sin, you know…” All I want and need is to be bathed in Light. The enemy we battle makes it difficult by throwing us into a place of hardened darkness and telling us it’s our fault. Our enemy wants us give up, to wither and die.

Remember, this is a battle, and in a battle we fight.

There is a weed shooting out of a crack on my porch steps. Today was the day that I needed to pull it out. I grasped it and tugged but it would not budge. This crazy little plant is full of seed heads that scatter to the wind with every movement. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much “fruit” on a plant so small. And the fact that, try as I might, I cannot pull the sucker out means that it’s roots are firmly in place. Deeply driven. I’m kinda impressed.

Life is hard. It’s certainly not fair. And when circumstance gives us a raw deal, we can do nothing or we can fight. Battles take their toll, but in the struggle Light and True Life are found. Jesus gives us the strength. Abundant fruit can be created, and deeps roots, like faith are made.

Here, on this crack-filled sidewalk that isn’t really our home, let’s encourage one another, and be earthly Life and Light for those who need it most. And don’t forget to save some of that compassion for yourself too, friends.

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