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Growing in the Cracks, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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The weather has been horribly hot this July, even for Texas! Keeping a yard alive is no small achievement. That’s what made my discovery so amazing. The best patch of grass growing on my whole lot was found in a crack in the concrete curbing. Despite receiving the hottest sun of the day, it was taller and greener than any other grass on my whole yard, and it wasn’t even in my yard!

    As I got to thinking, however, it made perfect sense. This hybrid Bermuda was made to withstand heat and direct sunlight. Water drained down our gutter at night, so its roots were able to pick up nourishment and refreshment that seaped down into the crack. It wasn’t just surviving, it was thriving!

    The image of this tough grass growing in a crack in the concrete was a powerful blessing as I prepared my funeral thoughts. Thelma was a very unique sister in Christ. She had grown up the daughter of migrant farmers, lost a younger brother and sister in death, took over as mother of the house at 14 caring for her younger siblings when her mother died, delt with alcoholism in her family, was injured and lost an index finger in a truck accident, raised her own children very much by herself because of her husband’s work, and he was killed in a horrible accident.

She found a way to thrive even when life was hard, unkind, unfair, and tough.
    She said she was from the line of Job—she knew suffering. But Thelma also knew achievement, success, victory, ministry, joy, love, purpose, and salvation. She was the grass that grew in the crack in the concrete! She found a way to thrive even when life was hard, unkind, unfair, and tough. Her faith and grit enabled her to get a nursing degree, put her children through college, become part of a mission team, visit Japan on a mission crusade, and to visit the Holy Land and be re-baptized in the Jordan River as a reaffirmation of her love and faith in Jesus. She was a lady of character who was quite a character!

    Today, many people blame their problems on someone else, using their backgrounds as an excuse for their failures and wickedness. Thelma is a refreshing reminder of what God can do with folks who are totally yielded to him. God can take them and make them strong, healthy, and beautiful, even if they are planted in a crack in the concrete. When you’re living for God, you don’t have much time to make excuses, you’ve got to get on about life.

    Hebrews 11 reminds us that people of faith were not special because they had it easy, but because they believed God was at work in their lives and that he would reward their faithfulness. Because of their faith, they grew in the cracks in the concrete.

    Their growth doesn’t leave much room for us to say: “You don’t understand, life hasn’t been fair.” “You can’t expect as much from me because of the hard times I grew up with.” No, their faith reminds us that life is seldom easy, and that joy and success are rooted in who we serve and not where we serve. The issue of life is not where we begin, but where we’re going and where we end up. So if we find ourselves in a crack in the concrete of life, let’s not let it discourage or defeat us. No, let’s use it to help us grow! Some of us just simply grow best in the cracks in the concrete!


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