The Chinese Bamboo tree provides a beautiful example of the process of growth. The farmer plants the hard nut in the ground and engages in the process of daily watering and fertilizing his future crop. Over the course of one year, no visible growth on the surface is seen. Year two? Nothing. Year three, not a single sprig. Year four? Nada! When year five comes what seems like a miracle the bamboo tree explodes above the surface and grows 90 feet in just 6 short weeks. Did the plant grow 90 feet in just 6 weeks or in 5 years? What took place beneath the surface in those 5 years was the foundational growth of a deep and healthy root system to support the breakthrough of the bamboo tree. What kind of person do we want to be in 5 years? The reality is that there is no neutral ground and we are always being discipled. Either we are being discipled by the pervasive culture filled with negativity and cynicism or by our Father filled with grace, mercy, and truth. We were created in the image of Father God on purpose and filled with amazing gifts and talents that the world is desperate to see in operation. He is the most empowering Father in the universe because He knows what our true potential is. He longs to see all of us consumed with the one pursuit of being image bearers of His son Jesus in culture. All He ask is for our “YES”! Yes to surrendering our hearts to Him. Yes to the process of becoming who we were created to be. Sons and daughters fully alive with His presence advancing His Kingdom.
I was standing in the freezing cold outside a hotel in Indianapolis after finishing up a long sales meeting. I stepped forward and to my surprise these amazing heaters had been installed overhead for my comfort while waiting outside. While I was grateful for heat that kept me nice and warm, I marveled at the innovation we have developed to take all suffering away. I read a mantra from a Navy SEAL that said “Embrace the Suck.” The reality is that we run from the suck. Our Father tells us to embrace the suck and celebrate his discipline in our life. He is not a cruel task master but a loving Father that believes and expects the best out of us. He writes to us and says to rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. What does saying yes to the process and embracing the suck look like to you? For me it was getting up an hour early to incorporate exercise into my life and address my out of shape body, cutting off talk radio, fox news, and feeding my mind and spirit with healthy content inspiring me to transformation. I chose to continually feed the fire that He had so generously lit in me years ago. I chose to stop listening to chickens and started surrounding myself with eagles in pursuit of His Kingdom. When deeply betrayed I chose the path of forgiveness trusting that He is my vindication. When disappointment of my apparent lack of growth tried to discourage me, I simply remember the bamboo tree, trust the process, and know that He is working all things together for my good. My Father is amazing!