Did you know that a cornstalk in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has become a celebrity? That’s right. A cornstalk has made the news nationwide. It has its own Twitter account – resplendent with photos that kept its many fans up-to-date on its survival and growth. This cornstalk even received praise from the Sioux Falls mayor Paul Ten Haken.
Why has a cornstalk been so honored? The plant, dubbed “the 57th Street Corn,” was growing up from a crack in the cement of a busy highway. How did it get water? How did it keep from getting run over by cars and trucks? How did it survive in such an inhospitable place? This is why the cornstalk gained such notoriety. People hailed it as “a symbol of resiliency and hope in hard times.”
And when someone thoughtlessly pulled the cornstalk up by its roots, hundreds grieved its demise. But don’t worry. A helpful resident, Chad Thiesen, rescued the plant from the highway and is now nursing it back to health. It will survive for the rest of the season.
Is our world so barren that we only have a cornstalk in concrete as a symbol of resiliency and hope in hard times? What about every Christian believer in this world? Aren’t believers in Jesus Christ living miracles of survival? Aren’t they forced to live in a toxic environment?
Yes, to be a Christian believer in this world is like being a sane person in a madhouse. Being a disciple of Jesus means being vilified, typecast as a looney, made the object of pop culture’s humor, and suffering endless injustices. And our society couldn’t care less. This cornstalk received tons of media attention while it lived and sympathy when someone thoughtlessly pulled it from the ground. But the wholesale slaughter of Christians in Islamic countries goes unreported by our mainstream media and unmourned by the world.
But God takes notice. To all the hosts of heaven – millions of angelic beings – the suffering saints of God are supreme heroes. The angels, though mighty in power and glorious, still gaze in awe at believers. “How do these frail and feeble believers manage to survive and thrive beneath such hostility and adversity?” they wonder. To all the myriads of heaven, Christian believers are stunning symbols of resistance and hope against sin, Satan, and all his demons. And all those saints who’ve gone before us are cheering us on. Yes, we’re in the arena, dodging ravenous lions and flaming arrows. Yes, we’re considered as sheep for the slaughter. But we’re surrounded by a host of witnesses who call out to us not to lose heart or faith. They remind us that Jesus will never fail us or forsake us. And they know this by their own personal experience.
You don’t hear their voices? Then read the Bible. From cover to cover we find the testimony of those who lived as strangers and aliens in a world that hated them for Jesus’ sake (John 15:17-21; 16:1-3; Romans 8:35-37; Hebrews 11:8-12:3).
Like that feeble cornstalk that grew from a crack in the busy highway, Christian believers grow up in a world that is hostile to everything they hold dear and opposed to their very existence. Of course believers get none of the sympathy which that fallen cornstalk received. But tune into the voices in heaven that celebrate us, especially to Jesus. He’s our greatest fan. And He himself “grew up before God as a tender shoot out of parched ground” (Isaiah 53:2). He experienced the very same hostile conditions we do.
So, “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He has endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up” (Hebrews 12:1-3, NLT).
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, please give me strength for this day. Please remind me that I do not live for myself, but for You. I do not serve myself, but I serve You. I do not suffer for my own sake, but for Your sake. And I suffer on Your account as well. But also remind me of the reward, vindication, and glory that awaits me in heaven – where I shall see You face to face and reign with You eternally. Amen.
(Information from: http://www.abc6on yourside.come/news/offbeat/south-dakota-city-mourns-urban-cornstalks-brief-life)