. . . dying, and yet we live on. (2 Corinthians 6: 9)
Last summer I had a flower bed of asters that nearly covered my garden in the country. They were planted late in the season, but how beautiful they were! While the outer portion of the plants were still producing fresh flowers, the tops had gone to seed, and when an early frost came, I found that the radiant beauty of the blossoms had withered. All I could say at this point was, “Oh well, I guess the season has been too much for them, and they have died.” So I wished them a fond farewell.
After this I no longer enjoyed looking at the flower bed, for it seemed to be only a graveyard of flowers. Yet several weeks ago one of the gardeners called my attention to the fact that across the entire garden, asters were now sprouting up in great abundance. It appeared that every plant I thought the winter had destroyed had replanted fifty to take its place. What had the frost and the fierce winter wind done?
They had taken my flowers and destroyed them, casting them to the ground. They had walked across them with their snowy feet and, once finished with their work, said, “This is the end of you.” And yet in the spring, for every one destroyed, fifty witnesses arose and said, “It is through ‘dying . . . we live on.’ ”
As it is in the plant world, so it is in God’s kingdom. Through death came everlasting life. Through crucifixion and the tomb came the throne and the palace of the eternal God. Through apparent defeat came victory.
So do not be afraid of suffering or defeat. It is through being “struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4: 9) and through being broken to pieces, and those pieces being torn to shreds, that we become people of strength. And it is the endurance of one believer that produces a multitude.
Others may yield to the appearance of things and follow the world. They may blossom quickly and find momentary prosperity, but their end will be one of eternal death.
~Henry Ward Beecher
Measure your life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth.
For love’s strength is found in love’s sacrifice,
And he who suffers most has most to give.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 384). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.