All right, I ‘fess up. I’m a “Type A.” I move fast, I eat fast, I think fast. I even sleep fast. I’m impatient. I want it yesterday. I hate to wait. I hate to wait in lines. I hate to wait for people to “get it.” I hate to wait for almost anything. Ain’t it awful? I recall someone saying to me once. “When you walk with God, He sometimes seems to walk awfully slow!” Come on God, I don’t have all day! Have you ever felt that way?
Recently, I found a great illustration that is already helping me be more patient in my leadership responsibilities and do a better job of trusting Him for the results. Les Brown in, Live Your Dreams shares the following:
“In his book An Enemy Called Average, John L Mason writes of a tree in Asia called the giant bamboo that has a particularly hard seed. It’s so hard to grow that you must water and fertilize that seed every day for four years before any portion of it breaks the soil. And then in the fifth year, the tree shows itself. But, the remarkable thing (and consult your National Geographic if you don’t believe me) is that once it breaks the surface, this bamboo plant, like many of the species, is capable of growing at rates as fast as four feet a day to a height of ninety feet in less than a month.”
Did the bamboo really shoot up ninety feet in a month, or did it grow over a five-year period without being seen? If the person doing the watering and fertilizing had given up because they didn’t see anything happening, the tree would have died! What a tremendous spiritual lesson the giant bamboo holds for us who are leading and praying for lasting fruit from our labors.
Mark 4:26,27 (New Living Translation, copyright 1996) reads: “…A farmer planted seeds in a field, and then he went on with his other activities. As the days went by, the seeds sprouted and grew without the farmers help,… “I, for one, need to constantly remind myself that He is Lord of the harvest, not me! For me that means He is Lord of the results! Isn’t that what harvest is all about, results? He has His timetable. Nothing is impossible for Him. He is at work even though I don’t see it, and I often don’t see it when I would like to see it!
The illustration of the giant bamboo is currently giving me more patience with people in process; more patience for the planted seed (truth, teaching, prayers) to break the surface and be evident. A number of years ago, Dick told me he had become a Christian. I had jogged regularly with Dick for quite a while and tried to initiate spiritual chit-chat, but he let it be known early in our relationship that he was zip interested and was an atheist.
I kept praying, sharing a little here and there and then we drifted apart and stopped seeing each other, but the bamboo seed was growing. The watering and fertilizing paid off, but there were many times I just thought it was hopeless. In what area are you experiencing God walking awfully slow? Where can you apply the principle of the giant bamboo?
There may be any number of seemingly hopeless situations related to your personal or ministry life. One of my favorite choruses has it right:
“In Your time. In Your time
You make all things beautiful in Your time
Lord, please show me everyday
As You’re teaching me Your way
That you do just what You say, in Your time”