Have you heard about the Chinese Bamboo tree whose seed goes dormant when planted? No amount of attention to the seed will arouse it from its sleep. However, careful care and nurture is required during this dormancy. Even though no visible signs of life are noticeable for FIVE YEARS, at the end of that time something extraordinary occurs. Suddenly the seed sprouts and grows into a mature tree more than ninety feet high in that one growing season. Incredible!

BambooTree1The Bible says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). Our children and grandchildren can be like that Chinese bamboo tree. Marriage and other relationships need time. Our work. Our ministry. Our investments. Most of us are too impatient.

Rick Warren said, “We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term and we underestimate what we can accomplish over the long term.”  Wow, so true. It’s exactly my ministry experience as a pastor who started a church. I was occasionally irked about the slowness of growth and the lack of momentum in the beginning. Now, 27 years later, I’m constantly awed by the speed of change and advancement.

BambooSeedSowing and waiting to see results—I call this the Bamboo Principle. While it applies to many areas of life, I’ve found that one of the hardest places to patiently wait is in family relationships. You can do most everything right with your kids on a regular basis in their young years, only to discover that as adults, they have moved in a direction you did not expect. The temptation is to try to ‘fix’ them by digging them up or over-tending. I’m learning. Be patient.

God is at work in our kids, but they have to make their own decisions. Even when you see them moving in the wrong direction, don’t despair. Keep speaking blessing into their lives and never stop praying. Guard yourself from a spirit of criticism or nagging. Keep on nurturing and loving. Don’t try to fix things. The seed has been planted. Give it time to grow.


QUESTION: What is one thing you are “waiting” to see grow? I’d love for you to share it in the comment section below.


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