Be Like Palm Trees Through Life’s Storms
Over the past weekend, I’ve been watching the Hurricane Irma footage. The Weather Channel‘s Mike Bettes commented numerous times about the palm trees and how they were taking such a beating but still standing. He said this was because they were so aerodynamic. It got me to thinking…We should be like these trees in our storms of life–bending but not breaking. Then I remembered that the Bible actually compares us to palm trees.
“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”” Psalms 92:12-15 (NLT)
I did a little bit of research on palm trees to study some of their characteristics and what enables them to stand and survive during some of the harshest of conditions. Interestingly, it’s a lot of those same qualities that will help us to survive and thrive too. Let’s take a look!
Strong root systems
Palm trees have a wide network of fibrous roots that create layers in the soil. These layers hold a tremendous amount of soil and are very heavy which forms an anchor for the tree. These strong root systems enable the tree to withstand immensely forceful winds without being uprooted.
Likewise, if we remained rooted and anchored in God, we too can withstand extreme conditions and brute force attacks. We need strong roots. The Bible says we need to be rooted in God’s love. Knowing we’re loved completely, unequivocally, and unconditionally can help us to endure quite of bit. Being rooted in God, Himself, and standing firm on His promises will keep us stable and steady. Hoping in Him will anchor us through life’s toughest storms and keep us firm and secure.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7 (NLT)
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19a (NIV)
“For they call themselves after the holy city, and anchor themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is his name.” Isaiah 48:2 (KJ2000)
Sturdy yet flexible trunk
Palm trees’ trunks are different from the average tree’s. They don’t have tree rings. Instead they have bundles of woody, vascular, fibrous material. Their structure is more cylindrical, similar to a cable with lots of smaller wires inside of it. This allows for the flexibility and elasticity of the tree. In fact, some palm trees have been known to bend almost parallel to the ground and still not snap. These trees have amazing resilience. They bend, sometimes significantly, but don’t break.
We, too, can have amazing resilience with the power we have through Jesus. We are not promised a life without trouble. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Jesus warns us in advance that we WILL have trouble. However, we do not have to face that trouble alone. He promises that we can be conquerors and overcome through him. With Jesus, we can go through the storms of life and bend but not break.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
Unique leaf design
Palm trees have unique foliage. They grow huge leaves, or fronds, with a large center spine almost like a feather. This feather-like structure allows the fronds to fold up during strong winds, thereby decreasing some wind resistance. Their shape also allows them to easily shed water and its subsequent extra weight. Additionally, the fronds are very pliable which prevents some breakage.
We must learn to be flexible and adjust to situations and circumstances in life. Rigidity can cause us to snap when we face hard times. When we “go with the flow” (without going against God), this flexibility will keep the storms from breaking us. Regardless of what is happening to or around us, we can learn to be content and find peace even amidst the storms. Then, just like the palm sheds water, we also need to shed the extra weight of anything that is weighing us down—especially sin. Sin will break us. We have to rid ourselves of it.
“…readily adjust yourself to people and things…” Romans 12:16 (AMP)
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Tattered yet intact
Palm trees are survivors and overcomers. They are up to the challenge of facing some of the harshest of elements. They still have use even though weathered, somewhat torn, and maybe even a little banged up.
We, too, are overcomers. God made us to survive and thrive. Storms may come. We may get some wear and tear in the process. However, they will not crush or destroy us. We have a deliverer who is for us and who is greater than anything that we will ever face. That is where our strength and victory lies.
“…This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NLT)
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NIV)
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NIV)
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” Psalm 24:16 (NIV)
“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:19 (NIV)
Take Some Practical Steps to Be Like Palm Trees Through Life’s Storms:
- First, develop a strong root system. Root yourself in God’s love—Pray Ephesians 3:16-21 over yourself. Stand firm on what He has promised you in His word. Then never lose hope. That hope will anchor you and keep you firm and secure no matter what you face.
- Next, don’t expect a life without trouble, and don’t lose heart when trouble comes. Instead, claim and confess that you are a conqueror and an overcomer. You are built to withstand storms. You are made to be resilient.
- Then, be flexible and adjust yourself when trouble comes. Learn to be content and have peace even in the middle of life’s messes. Then throw off any extra weight, especially sin, that might be holding you down.
- Finally, realize that you are never too damaged to be used by God. He delights in using what we see as our weaknesses. God will use us in spite of our flaws, imperfections, and mistakes!
Have you been a palm tree in some of life’s storms? Do you have a testimony? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below!
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If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward! Share this post via the sharing links below. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)