Fern and Bamboo are different plants. Ferns grow fast, and are green and bushy. Bamboo is different. It grows at it's own pace. Mature bamboo is a major building material. For furniture. For supports. And for many people, their homes. And how might God describe them?
The Fern and Bamboo
One day, I decided to quit. I wanted to quit my job, to quit my relationships, to quit my marriage, to quit my spirituality; I even wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. "God," I said, "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me. "Look around," He said, "do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes," I replied.
"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 the third year there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit."
"In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. Still, 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 they could not handle," He said to me.
"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. The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come," God said to me. "You will rise high."
"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?", He asked in return.
"As high as it can?", I questioned.
"Yes," He said, "Give Me glory by rising as high as you can. And remember...I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I will never give up on you. I will never, ever quit on you."
The Worst Day of My Life
I was at the end of my rope. I was not normally a drinker, you know, alcohol, booze. But today was different. So I went to a bar across town.
There I was is sitting at the bar staring at my drink when a large, trouble-making biker dude walks up next to me, grabs my drink, and swallows it completely in one motion.
"So! What you gonna do about it little man?" he says.
I promptly responded by bursting into tears.
"Hey man, stop that. I didn't think you'd cry. I can't stand to see another man cry!"
I looked at him from my tears. "This is the worst day of my life," I said.
"I'm a complete failure."
"I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me."
"When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don't have any insurance to replace it."
"I left my wallet in the cab that I took home."
"At home, I walked into the house to find my wife romping with the gardener. Before I could even face them, or say or do anything, the gardener's dog bit me!"
"So I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all."
"I bought a drink. Yeah, my drink here."
"I dropped a capsule into the liquor, and was watching it dissolve when you walked in."
"Well you know the rest. You ruined the one thing I wanted to do right today when you drank my drink."
"By the way, how's your day going?"