A tall, solitary palm tree grows on the lawn of the house next to mine. On stormy days the enormous lime colored leaves sway and bend, almost as if they are dancing. And once in a while a leaf will flex too far and snap. One morning I caught my neighbor cleaning up a fallen casualty and we chatted about the history of the tree. When he moved into the house years prior, the palm was only as tall as him, but now it practically surpassed his roof.
As we stared up at the soaring spectacle, climbing into the California skies, I asked him how tall it might become. He looked at me and said “It’s anyone’s guess as to how big this thing will get.” And in that moment the Holy Spirit had my attention. A voice in my heart said “Exactly. That’s just like my work in your life Ruthie. Just imagine how big this thing could get.” I walked away and I knew exactly what God was saying.
It’s so easy for me to lose hope. Day to day there’s so much to distract and discourage me. Close doors. Unanswered prayers. Challenges and obstacles. The last few weeks have felt like a fight on every side to believe for more. To keep asking God to show up and do something big with the small scraps of faith I bring His way. I began to wonder if I missed Him. If I should settle for less. If all this faith is actually foolishness. Anyone relate to that kind of dwindling hope?
And then I see the palm trees soaring next the city skyline, and it brings my heart right back to what is true.
We have no idea just how big the work of God can get in our lives. We sing about God being great, we listen to podcasts and go to church to hear sermons about His vast power, but it’s rare that we reflect on just what that means for our own life.
The truth is that what may seem like a modest palm tree is on it’s way to surpassing anything you could have imagined.
What seems broken, what seems lost, may in fact be part of something much bigger that God is doing. We think we’ve missed our moment. We think we’ll never recover. We think it’s too late. But God says imagine how big this could get. We assume we’re too small, too inexperienced or too inadequate. But God says I’m not done with your story. Leaves may fall, but there’s so much more.
It’s tempting to settle for what we see or assume is possible. It’s easy to presume history dictates our future. But God' isn’t limited by those things. In fact He’s not limited at all. So today I sat on a bench at the park, holding my warm coffee and remembered. All the times He’s been good. All the times He’s come through. And all the ways He keeps calling me to look up. It’s not over yet. God’s working behind the scenes, moving things into place, to bring you into the fullness of what He designed. He’s not given up on us. He’s dreaming of how big this could get. Let’s join Him.