People must stand strong

By Joan Clayton: Columnist

Several years ago I planted holly hock flower seeds. They never came up and I thought “so much for holly hocks.

The abundance of rain this spring and summer has brought a vigorous growth to our yard. Imagine my surprise when I discovered holly hocks growing profusely. Not only that, they grew taller and taller. The seeds on the ground and watered by the rain had resulted in a row of beauty.

I think when we plant “seeds” of kindness, love, patience and gentleness it eventually blossoms into a thing of beauty too. Every day you and I have the privilege of sharing our faith. It may take months or years to see the results but sooner or later the “seeds” will sprout and grow. We plant good seeds by example and influence, turning others to the “light” of Jesus.

The other night we had a terrific windstorm. I turned on the porch light and saw my lovely holly hocks lying helplessly on the ground. I thought again, so much for holly hocks. Not so. The next morning my holly hocks had straightened up tall, regaining strength from the adversity of the night.

As I looked at their stately stance and many colors I could almost hear them saying, “Blow wind blow! I will still be standing when the storm is over!” What a lesson for me in the storms of life. It isn’t being down for the count, but getting up again. Storms come and go, but the real hero never quits. He or she comes back even stronger.

It takes real courage and strong faith to begin again but we can do it. I inherited my Aunt Opal’s Bible. One of her favorite scriptures (and mine) is “For this God is our God forever and ever. He will guide us from now on” (Psalm 48:14 NCV).

There is no such thing as “defeat” with God. He does not intend for us to be quitters. With him we are winners. We can’t listen to the world. Everything we hear in the world is mainly defeatism and no wonder because the god (notice little “g”) of this world is the enemy.

We go on with the Lord no matter what we are going through, because circumstances can make or break us. God wants us to be successful and I’ve found some concepts that will help us stand tall like my holly hocks:

• God is not going to let you fail. He does not get glory out of failures.

• God has caused us to be successful.

• God has called us to be more than conquerors.

• He renews the mind.

• He provides wisdom.

• We stop trying to understand and start trusting.

• God works all things for our good that are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

• We quit thinking of the negatives. There is never a lack of negatives so let’s not dwell on that level.

• Expect the best no matter what.

• We have hope and that means an expectation of something good.

• We have an influence on everyone we meet.

• am reminded of the influence Elisha had. The story is told in 2 Kings 13:20:

“Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.” (NIV))

That dear friend is influence.

So whatever your circumstance be like my holly hocks. You are not down for the count. Rise up and shine.

“And those who are wise … the people of God shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever” (Daniel 12:3 TLB).