Learning How to Plod Thru Hardships

 

2abideMaking jewelry is one of the things I truly enjoy. Lately a bracelet I made for one of my physical therapists has been on my heart. I was in physical therapy for 8 months after back surgery. Although I went from barely walking with crutches to walking, driving and swimming again I still graduated with only managing the nerve pain in my foot. It improved but today is still there. I had two physical therapists that I learned to rely on as I saw them up to three times a week. Physical therapy taught me a lot about plodding. It was a marathon not a quick race by any means. Healing of this kind takes perseverance and learning to see the small improvements as encouragements. This was something I definitely had to learn.  I can remember a few months before I was done with my physical therapy one of my therapists was dismayed as I seemed to plateau. She was almost as frustrated as I was. But I believe God heard my small prayers for her afterword and then next visit we found exercises that released my nerve and lessen the pain in my foot temporarily. I made them both bracelets and gave them to them at my last visit. One of them was based on Romans 5:3-4.

“And not only this but, (with joy) let us exalt in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure trouble) produces patient endurance and endurance proven character (spiritual maturity) and proven character, hope and confident assurance (of eternal salvation.) AMP version.

This verse to me is the importance of plodding. We need to learn how to plod thru our sufferings and hardships with joy. That can be a really, really hard thing to do and it takes a total change of how we view things. God doesn’t always use tragic events to teach us how to plod or abide in him. He uses hardships like the person at work you just can’t get along with, your child hitting their teen years, daily hardships we need to find joy in. When you are in these hardships or tests it’s important to remember that God hasn’t left you, still hears you and will establish you in the end. He challenges us to do do things in that testing like, pray for our enemies, (which is really hard!), have patience and wear kindness and love. Give when we think we have nothing left to give and depend on him to provide for us when we can’t see how he can.

I recently finished a wonderful Bible plan on Youversion called Everyday Supernatural by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft. On day six he writes about the importance of plodding. He tells the story of a missionary names William Carey. Carey went to India in 1793 to spread the gospel. While he was there three of his seven children died, his wife developed mental illness, Carey suffered a skin condition that would not allow him in direct sunlight and in the first 7 years of his time there he did not see a single person convert to Christianity. In that first 7 years he also lost six years worth of work one night when his manuscripts were destroyed in a fire. How hard it must have been to keep going as adversity after adversity hit him.

But at the end of his life he saw thousands of people come to know God and he opened up a way for other missionaries to enter India. He translated the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit. He is known now as the father of modern missions.  Carey himself was once quoted as saying in response to a question about what he thought his greatest gift was, “ Mr Carey’s greatest gift was that he new how to plod.” It’s in plodding through our hardships God grows greatness thru us.

The bracelet is designed to look much like a vine. The cross at the beginning is green so that it represents Christ and us abiding in his vine as described in John 15:4-5 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine you are the branches, If you remain in me and I In you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.”

The yellow flower represents the joy that will grow in us when we suffer our hardships and when we celebrate our mountain tops. We will learn to put our joy in the Lord. As in Romans 5:3-4 The pearl represents patient endurance. The brown or bronze flower represents the growth of proven character or as the NLT version says strong character. The jade green bead represents hope.  

When we became Christians God did not promise us new lives with no trouble. He actually promised the opposite saying that we will have trouble but Jesus has already overcome it. I hope in whatever your plodding thru today this gave you some encouragement that plodding thru hardships is part of His plan to grow you into something great.

Other verses this piece of jewelry brought to mind are:

  1. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
  2. I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener (vine dresser). He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
  3. I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard. My loved one has a vineyard on a fertile hillside. Isaiah 5:1

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