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Chinese Bamboo

June 27, 2012

Today has been quite a frustrating day for me. Enough times I came close to screaming; literally! But I was in the wrong place all the time. You see, I live in Dar es salaam, a city known to have temperatures of up to 35 deg Celsius sometimes. Then the infamous TANESCO decides to cut power at midnight, when I was just about to go to sleep!!! How does one sleep in that heat?

Anyway, I managed to sleep somehow and woke up with a very heavy head and mood. I arrived at the office but an hour later had to go to the Optometrist’s… That’s where my second frustrating moment came in. The traffic on the road was crazy, and on reaching her office she was not there…. Sigh! All that time wasted….NKT!!!
It was quite obvious my day was taking a very wrong turn and so I did what I always do when things are that mucky; browse the net. I have no idea how I ended up reading the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree, which I am about to share with you…
Imagine a situation where You take a little seed, plant it, water it, and apply fertilizer on it for a whole year, but nothing happens.
The second year you water it and still do the fertilizer thing, but still nothing happens.
The third year you water it and still continue adding fertilizer, but nothing is happening. How discouraging this becomes, especially considering the cost of fertilizer has gone up!
The fourth year you do the same, but nothing seems to be happening. By this time I am sure you must be very frustrated.  Actually at this point if you are still faithfully watering the seed and taking care of it, I commend you for your patience!
The fifth year you continue with your routine….  then somewhere within the fifth year, something starts to happen.
The Chinese bamboo tree spouts and grows NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS!
At this point I wonder, did the tree grow in six weeks or has it been growing all this time (5 years)? 
Now, can you picture the dude who has been watering and taking care of the seed for all this time? 5 years? If I was him, I think somewhere along the way I would have started doubting myself… I’d probably think I forgot where the seed was planted!
On the other hand, I can almost see his neighbours wondering what he does every morning, speaking amongst themselves in low-tones wondering whether the guy is loony, or whether he has some rituals he performs to his ancestors every day. In some cases, I have a feeling some of those neighbours had even spread some rumours to their friends and relatives, and I would not be surprised if once in a while, his compound became a tourist attraction….
One thing I am sure of is that he must have received enough discouraging comments such as “Why are you wasting your time and resources taking care of something that doesn’t seem to be working out for you?”  or “how do you know that the seed did not rot and die for good?”… whatever the case, he never gave up on his daily ritual.
What do you think the same neighbours said to him when they saw the massive tree that shot up to Ninety Feet in six weeks? I guess they started viewing him in a different light. I can almost hear some of them saying stuff like, “kumbe he knew what he was doing?”, though am sure others made comments like, “huyu ni mchawi achaneni naye…”
This kinda reminds me of the story of Noah and the Ark. No one believed him when he said what he had been told to do and why he was doing it. He however stuck to his task and eventually the day the ark was done, he did as he was commanded by God and those who were not in the ark all perished….(Genesis Chapter 6 – 9).
I believe faith and trust were key factors as to why both the bamboo guy and Noah of the Ark never faltered in their respective tasks. They both knew what they believed in and they had faith that whatever they knew would happen would eventually happen. (Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”)
Sometimes as Christians we tend to give up when we see that God is taking too long to answer our prayers. Just like the bamboo tree and the ark, sometimes the requests we have for God take long to be accomplished because we need to be well prepared to receive them. In between the time you make your request to God and the time God answers your prayer, there is a waiting period. He uses that time to deal with us in different ways until He is certain we can handle what He gives us.
Sometimes He purposely takes time to respond to our prayers so that “our neighbours” can have ample time to spread “rumors” as far as they can, so that when God does finally come through for us, they will have no choice but to eat humble pie and in the process be touched by what He will have done and their lives will be transformed.
How deep do you think the roots of this bamboo tree go, in order to hold a ninety foot tree? They must have been growing in silence over that period of five (5) years. The seed had to die first, then sprout afresh again, only this time stronger and deeply rooted than ever before.…The same case applies to those who God has called for His purpose. You will be unheard/unseen for a long period of time as He works on you from the inside… then when the time is right Boooooom! Nine feet tall tree…….
Our responsibility is just one, to trust and have absolute faith in Him; the rest is His work.



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