STRONGER

According to Guinness World Records, “The world record for the fastest growing plant belongs to certain species of the 45 genera of bamboo, which have been found to grow at up to 91 cm (35 in) per day or at a rate of 0.00003 km/h (0.00002 mph).” (Guinness, 2020) That’s almost three feet a day, it’s a good thing our kids don’t grow that fast. I’ve been fortunate to have visited such a bamboo forest full of towering powerful majestic masterpieces of God’s creation. I was dwarfed by the grandness of God’s created plants that inhabit the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama in Kyoto Japan. According to the RHS Dictionary of Gardening, “there are approximately 1,000 species of bamboos. The tallest recorded in the tropics was reportedly 40 m (130 ft), in Europe and the USA 20-30 m (65-98 ft) has been the tallest.” (Guinness, 2020). I’ve always been fascinated by bamboo. My first memory of bamboo was when I visited a friend in my neighborhood and we went around back to watch his dad try to gain control over a large bamboo grove. His dad coaxed us into helping him, we started out eager to help but we were defeated by the strength and tenacity of the bamboo. Bamboo is a tough plant strengthened by the nodes that are spread throughout the main clum (stem) of the plant. It is said that the ring like nodes, the strongest part of the bamboo, are made solid and strengthened while underground and during the coldest temperatures. The amazing bamboo plant gains strength and width as it waits underground preparing to express its power and beauty when finally released to rise up like a flagpole crying out God’s magnificence (Luke 19:40). “Bamboo takes about three years to get established. Once established the new shoots that emerge in the Spring (they will still only grow for 60 days) will continue to get bigger and more numerous from year to year as the colony grows towards maturity” (Bamboo, 2002). Some species can live in -20F (Beaulieu). These hearty plants may lie underground for years and become dormant during the cold months, at the same time they gain potential strength and energy during the underground and under weather cycles. You might say the life of bamboo can be a reflection of our lives. Sometimes as we are hunkered down waiting for the storm or the coronavirus to pass, we can gain strength and energy preparing to explode when the storm has passed and the Sun comes out. We have all read the stories of the prison inmate who studies law while waiting for his/her release then becomes a lawyer (Zoukis, 2019). Mike Lindell created a pillow and a plan while spending time for drug convictions which he turned into a multi-million-dollar business when he was released (Lindell, 2019). One person who I believe had several “underground” episodes was King David of the Bible. He spent a lot of time hiding in caves (I Samuel 22: 1). One low point for David came before he became king as he gained valuable leadership skills by leading his mighty warriors into battle after battle. Perhaps David was not made King until God had prepared David to take the throne to lead His people. One of David’s lowest, “underground” moments was after being rejected by “the princes of the Philistines” (I Samuel 29: 9) and returning to Ziklag after “The Amalekites had invaded upon the South, even unto Ziklag, and burnt it with fire” (I Samuel 30:1). David was at his low point he was rejected by the Philistines, lost everything (1 Samuel 30:1-5) and his own men had turned against him, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters” (I Samuel 30:6). David was down and out and could have succumbed to the pressure and depression. He could have given up and retreated to his own “underground” bunker and never rise up to take the throne God was preparing for him. Instead David drew his strength from the Lord, supported and lifted up by his memories of the many difficult situations God had brought him through. “But David strengthened himself in his God” (I Samuel 30: 6). David took action, ““Please bring the ephod here to me.” (verse 7). David asked of the Lord, “So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” (verse 8 & 9). David stopped, called on the Lord, made a plan, and pursued what the Lord had laid out for him. “But David pursued…” (verse 10). Like the powerful bamboo, David rose up and released his strength to pursue the enemy and retrieve his family and his people. Even though David was seemingly at his end and distressed, he called on the Lord and was given hope and strength to move forward. David gained more leadership skills, learned how to deal with discouragement, and took on new meekness during this tragedy that turned to victory. Pastor Charles Stanley proposes that God was waiting and training David for the throne through this trial. (Stanley, 2020) If you feel weighted down by the constant pressure of the coronavirus pandemic or maybe you’re a little warn out by the isolation and restrictions perhaps David’s story or the life of bamboo can give you some encouragement. My hope is that we can all use our time “underground” to strengthen our faith, our families, our relationships and our gifts to increase the power of growth spurt once we are given the opportunity to shoot up like the giant bamboo. I encourage you to pray and think about the gifts and talents God has blessed you with. I suggest you take a look at the people who are truly important to you and pray about how you can serve them better. I propose you spend time with the Lord, in pray, in bible verses, in intimate solitude with the Lord. I believe this coronavirus underground time can be a blessing from God if we ask Him for guidance, make a plan, and pursue the blessings He lays out before us. I believe if we hunker down with God we can rise out of our “underground” bunkers taller and stronger than ever. Resources Bamboo L. (2002). How does bamboo grow? Lewis Bamboo Inc. online Oakman AL. Retrieved from: https://lewisbamboo.com/how-bamboo-grows/ Beaulieu, D. (2019). Growing bamboos in cold climates. The Spruce Online. Dotdash publishing. New York, NY. Retrieved from: https://www.thespruce.com/growing-bamboos-in-cold-climates-2132863 Guinness, (2020). Fastest growing plant. Guinness World Records Ltd. London, United Kingdom. Retrieved from: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/fastest-growing-plant/ Landsman, J. (2019). Plant nodes and internodes. The Spruce Online. Dotdash publishing. New York, NY. Retrieved from: https://www.thespruce.com/plant-nodes-and-internodes-3269548 Stanley, C. (2020). How to encourage yourself. In Touch Ministries Online. https://www.intouch.org/listen/featured/how-to-encourage-yourself#. XqXfmsepbbY.mailto Lindell, M. (2020). What are the odds? from crack addict to CEO. Lindell Publishing, Minneapolis Minn

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