When we have been standing and believing for something, we sometimes liken our wait to a forever-like season.
Waiting is not fun.
This kind of season sometimes leads us to second guess God’s word. At other times, a decision to intervene seems reasonable, justifiable.
Quitting? Yes, that thought does cross as well.
We are not alone. We even read how Old Testament heroine Sarah had reasoned within herself and took matters into her own hands when she was promised a son…her long-awaited son.
In times like these, I am reminded of the Chinese Bamboo Tree.
Farmers who grow these trees endure an incredibly long waiting period. However, they know that as they practice patience and perseverance, they will not be disappointed.
Like any plant, the trees require nurturing—fertile soil, water, and sunshine. In its first year, farmers see no visible signs of activity from their seed-tending efforts. And still nothing above the soil is evident in the second, third or even the fourth year.
Sound familiar? We prepare our hearts (soften our soil) to receive God’s word and direction. Then a word is planted. We are excited, and we diligently tend to the garden of our hearts with much watering, much basking in the light of His promise.
But as we look for sprouts of change or for our promise to break ground, our patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our garden-tending efforts will ever be fruitful.
At the bamboo tree’s fifth and final year, farmers witness a phenomenal spurt: the tree grows eighty feet in just six weeks!
Seem too far-fetched? How can something that showed zero signs of activity shoot up with such incredible gain? Did the Chinese Bamboo Tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth?
Invisible to the farmer, the bamboo tree was growing underground, developing a strong root system that would be able to sustain its potential for outward growth.
I’m sure you are seeing the connection already in regards to your waiting season.
If the tree had not developed a strong unseen foundation, it could not have supported and sustained its life as it grew.
What we cannot see on the outside doesn’t mean that growth or life is not taking place.
We have God-given potential and God-given dreams. As we toil (pray, believe, and stand on the surety of God’s spoken word), our faith’s foundation is being built, our resolve is being cemented.
We need faith’s foundation so firm because during these wait times, adversity and challenges come fast, bringing the ever-fiery arrows of frustration along for the ride.
The Lord seeks a church that endeavors to keep sharp focus on Him and what was promised to them. His Holy Spirit reassures as the church endeavors to keep still, to listen, and to place significant value on what He has spoken.
God is not a man that He should lie! (Number 23:19, Hebrews 6:18, Ezekiel 24:14, Titus 1:2).
Had the Chinese Bamboo Tree farmer dug up the seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth or killed it altogether.
We would do similar damage if we react based on what we don’t see happening in our situations. Doubts may arise, resolve weakens; and ultimately faith may turn to despair.
Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. (Hebrews 11:1 TPT)
Did you catch that last sentence? Faith is all the evidence required. The Chinese Bamboo Tree farmers have this kind of faith. They endure and eventually see the fruit of their perseverance. They know all too well that things are taking place even when they cannot see.
Seasons usually are long, hard and painful. But if you have been given a specific word, trust that He will see you along the journey. He promises that His word goes forth from His mouth and does not return void. It accomplishes what He pleases and prospers in the thing for which He had sent it! (Isaiah 55:11)