The Lord blessed me with another lesson from the garden this afternoon. I was weeding again, and if weeds were people, the garden paths would've been covered in blood. Firmly planted wherever it could find a bare spot of ground was a very tenacious intruder: bindweed. With a hand rake and my own bare hands I attacked the creeping plants. Soon vines, leaves, and other plant parts were flying over my shoulder and freshly tilled ground was appearing where tangled weeds had been. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that I've had to go to battle in my own garden. As soon as I turn my back the remnants of roots that I have missed start to grow and spread all over again.
While I was thinking and weeding, I started wishing that these weeds would be more like the gophers that recently moved into our neighborhood. My dad has taken up the practice of bringing his gun out with him when he works outside. After a while curious little critters start peeking out of their holes and scampering around. Needles to say, they don't scamper around very long. When my dad is done with his target practice he picks up the rodents by the tail and deposits their remains in the entrances of their holes (I know, this is really morbid, but I got a great object lesson from it, so just wait). Then he puts his gun away and that is that. There are that many less gophers and that many less gopher holes, because a gopher is not about to use a tunnel that has another gopher's corpse in it (yuck!). So I was thinking, if only the bindweed wouldn't come up again where I killed it the first time. If it would just learn its lesson and go somewhere safer, after a while I would be done with it. But bindweed is courageous (or maybe brainless...), and it doesn't let the dangers of the past keep it from growing in the future. When it is kicked out, it comes back with more persistence. When it is cut down, it grows with more vigor. When it is poisoned, it renews itself. This made me think of a verse.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." - 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
I don't want to be persistent in evil like the bindweed, but I do want to let the memory of my Lord's sufferings give me endurance to do what is right even when persecuted. Unlike the gophers that are so easily scared away from their homes, I want to claim more territory for Christ and expand His kingdom like the tenacious bindweed.
In just a couple weeks I'll be heading overseas to spend a year as a student missionary, and I know that there will be plenty of opportunities for perseverance in the face of difficulty while I'm there, but I can be persistent at home too. When I don't get upset with my sister, when I do my household duties without being told, when I study and practice music diligently, I'm practicing perseverance in what is right. It is faithfulness in the little everyday things that prepares me for the big things ahead. After all, "life is chiefly made up, not of great sacrifices and achievements, but of little things" (from somewhere in Help in Daily Living by E.G. White). I'm nowhere near capable of the tasks that the Lord has for me in the future, and the devil will be trying to trip me up all along the way, but I do know that Jesus is stronger than the devil, and that in each day He gives me ways to train for the trials ahead. May I see each burden as another way to make my spiritual muscles stronger, and may I see each opportunity for doubt as an opportunity to strengthen my faith. May I grow like a bindweed.