Last month I shared a few ways to “navigate the in-between” when you’re in a waiting season to see the promises of God unfold in your life.
The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me quite a bit over the last four months about the importance of having BOTH faith AND patience. It’s through the power of both of them combined that we inherit the promises of God (see Hebrews 6:11-12). Today I’d like to share a powerful illustration of what this looks like.
Faith is confidence that what God has spoken will come to pass. The scriptures say it is the substance of the things we hope for, and the evidence of things that we cannot currently see. It’s a powerful force often referred to as the “currency of the Kingdom.” We simply can’t function effectively in Kingdom life without it.
If we have faith without patience, over time we become discouraged or may even give up on believing that the promise(s) will be revealed in our lives. Patience is more than waiting, it is endurance and steadfastness. If we have patience without faith, we will not exercise our God-given authority to change things and can find ourselves living a life of complacency, enduring in circumstances or situations longer than necessary.
As I was meditating on scriptures on the power of faith and patience, I was reminded of a rather remarkable tree that I first learned about several years ago. It is called a Chinese Bamboo Tree. Here’s how it works:
You take the Chinese Bamboo Tree seed and you plant it.
You water it and fertilize it…
A year goes by and you see nothing.
The second year comes and you water it and fertilize it again. Another year passes by and…nothing.
The third year comes….the fourth year comes and goes. You’re watering and fertilizing and tending to that seed, but you see absolutely nothing.
Something extraordinary happens in the fifth year.
Sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese Bamboo Tree sprouts and grows up to 80 feet in one season!
The truth is that it didn’t actually grow 80 feet in one season. It grew in five years. For the first four years the Chinese Bamboo tree was growing an incredibly strong root system. It was growing, but it was growing under the ground where you can’t see it. The strong root system that it grew for four years is precisely what was needed to support its exponential growth in the fifth year and beyond.
The Chinese Bamboo Tree is a picture of faith and patience. When it comes to seeing the promises of God unfold in your personal or business life, it can take time. There are many possible dynamics at work: divine timing, seasons, preparation, positioning, and sometimes spiritual warfare.
As you stay in faith and continue to plant and nurture good seeds (in thoughts, prayers, and action), know that God is at work. He’s the master orchestrator and He’s adding and increasing in ways that you are not even aware of. Yield yourself to the process of maturing in Christ and developing endurance. As James said (James 1:4), when we allow patience to have its perfect work (run full course) in our lives, we can become fully developed, lacking in nothing.
Bottom Line: Exercise both faith and patience while keeping your eyes on the Keeper of the Promise. Don’t settle for less than God’s best….the sprouting is on the way!