He went into the woods to have one last talk to God. “God,” he said. “Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t quit?”
The answer took him by surprise. “Look around you,” it said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”
“Yes,” the man replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo, I took very good care of them. I gave them both equal amounts of food and water. I gave them sunlight in spring and protected them from the storms in autumn. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant fronds soon covered the forest floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year, the fern grew even more splendidly than before but nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In year four, 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 day by day the sprout grew. First a shoot, then a seedling, and finally a cane. Within six months, the bamboo cane had risen to a height of 100 feet. 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 it could not handle.”
“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have been growing? Growing the roots that you need to produce your fruit. I would not quit on the bamboo. I will not quit on you.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others. All of my creations have different purposes, different journeys, and different timescales. The bamboo had a different purpose from the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come. You will rise high.”
“How high should I rise?” the man asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” asked God in return.
“As high as it can?” the man questioned.
“Yes,” God replied. “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”
The small business owner left the forest. And never went back.
If nothing seems like it is happening in your life, despite all the work you’re putting in, remember that you’re probably growing roots not fruit. Stick with it. One day not far from now, there’ll be a fantastic harvest.