One day, a man decided to quit. He was going to quit his job, his relationship, his spirituality…he wanted to quit his life. He went to the woods to have one last talk with God. The conversation goes this way.
Man: “God, can you give me one good reason not to quit?”
God’ answer surprises the man.
“Looks around,” God said. “Do you see the Fern and the Bamboo?”
God: “When I planted the Fern and the Bamboo seeds. I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The Fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the Bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the Bamboo.
“In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the Bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the Bamboo.
“In year three there was still nothing from the Bamboo seed. But I would not quit.
In year four, again, there was nothing from the Bamboo seed. I would not quit.
“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the Fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the Bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”
God then asked the man, “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the Bamboo. I will never quit on you.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others,” He said. “The Bamboo had a different purpose from the Fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.”
“Your time will come,” God said to the man. “You will rise high.”
“How high should I rise?” the man asked.
“How high will the Bamboo rise?” God asked in return.
“As high as it can?” the man questioned.
“Yes,” God said, “Give Me glory by rising as high as you can.”
The man left the forest and brought back this story. His conversation with God helps us see that God will never give up on us. So never, never, never give up.
This parable also tells us that something may be small and insignificant at first but given time will rise as high as it can to the glory of God. And nothing is really wasted because while you may look so seemingly insignificant and inconsequential and may even be hidden from view, God can be helping you grow your roots for a long and purposeful life in the difficult and trying days ahead.